Monday, January 7, 2013

Advent Archive: Acts 16

Acts 16 holds the story of a woman named Lydia, “a seller of purple.” This is vital, because up until this point in the story of the young Church, the major players and influencers have all been men. As a matter of fact, the major female member of the Church mentioned to this point in Acts is Saphira who came to Peter and lied about giving to the Lord and subsequently was smitten dead by the Holy Spirit. When Lydia comes on the scene, it is a relief and it speaks to the utter confirmation that Christianity is not a male thing. The church is not just trans-cultural, it is trans-gender and as a matter of fact, Paul encourages Lydia in her personal walk and her spiritual growth. This passage stands as a monumental passage for a couple of reasons. First, this was the first direct female convert who was named, and second, it was the first confirmed convert in the continent of Europe. Up until this point, the gospel had largely been a Middle Eastern phenomenon, but now the news had crossed the sea and was now infiltrating Europe, where God would eventually call out His reformers and subsequently the rebirth of Christianity into what we know of it as today. But how did the gospel start in Europe? It started with a woman convert. Certainly, one point for the ladies team on this one. God’s gospel is for all the world. Christ died for all, Jew and Greek, male and female. Praise be to the God who offers salvation to the whole world.
 Food For Thought: What was the gender of the first convert in Europe? What implication does this have about Christianity in regards to gender?