You can be an outcast without being cast out.
Acts 18:2 – And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
In our Text for Today, we are introduced the Aquila and Priscilla, a husband and wife ministry team, Jewish by birth, Christian by choice and the grace of God, and outcasts from their hometown by Claudius Caesar. That is quite an introduction for these two servants of God. What I want you to focus on for a moment is that they were outcasts. But they were outcasts who had been cast out.
But you and I, dear friend, are living in a different time. In the day of which our Text for Today speaks, lepers were outcasts; having been put out of the camp (city, or community) because of their leprosy. They were isolated from the uncontaminated. When people were cast out, as were Aquila and Priscilla, they had to leave the hometown of their choosing, and live somewhere outside contact with people they no doubt loved and served. And over many centuries, that was the pattern of being an outcast; cast out of family, community, city, and even nation. And while that may still occur in a small number of nations in our world today, such is not the general rule. We live in a different age.
In our time of modern convenience, housing as we understand it today, and with the advent of extreme use of social media, being an outcast will likely not resemble how it appeared 2,000 years ago. Today, you can be an outcast while living in your own home, attending you home church, holding down a long-term job, and even surrounded by family. While we have more means of communication than ever in history, and while messaging and sending pictures so others can see certain images are likely at their highest levels in history, true communication is, when you consider 7.3 billion people on the planet, at an all time low.
In real communication, there is a desire to understand. It is amazing to me that with billions of people all over the world owning cellular telephones, there is less personal voice communication. Texting, videos, messaging, Instagram, and the like, have all but replaced face-to-face communications, genuine telephone conversations where you can hear someone’s voice, and old-fashioned letter writing. We’re likely using more words than ever in the history of man, but communication has slipped to an all-time low. In the context of our modern age, there are multiplied millions of outcasts who never left home, community, or church. Should we, as Paul did Aquila and Priscilla, come to them? How many like Aquila and Priscilla might we find? We will not know unless we try. Just a thought.
Manna for Today – Acts 18:1-17; Matthew 25:40-45; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:8