“If I told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times!” I remember hearing my mother say those words. The emphasis on certain words made clear that I had not been listening the countless other times that she had communicated something she wanted me to retain. She was generally accurate that I had not been listen, and her emphasis got my attention.
I don’t know that there is any frustration behind the purpose in today’s reading from Exodus, but we’ve read this previously. These next few chapters are almost verbatum what we read a few days ago. Repetition is one of the ways of emphasizing the importance of a message. “I told you once so let me tell you again” the importance of the Tabernacle and having a place to meet with God. God has set apart the people of Israel for a special relationship – established a covenant with them and through the Tabernacle will be with them.
So when we come to Acts 10, suddenly we are given an entirely new understanding. Jesus has become the place and the means by which God will meet with his people. The taboos of food and family had been set up by God in the first place to keep Israel for himself, separate from the rest of the world. But now, in Jesus and by the Spirit, God has carried out that plan. The time has come when Gentiles as well as Jews are welcomed into God’s family on exactly the same terms.
Suddenly, God has no favorites – or maybe it is better to say – whoever you are, you are God’s favorite. In Jesus, the barrier has been removed. Now, everyone – yes, even you – is welcomed by God. Surely no one can stand in the way… (Acts 10:47)