Tabitha Morales What does it look like to behold ourselves and our ethnic identity? This week, Tabitha Morales joins us and helps us to discover what it looks like to behold God and ourselves more clearly.
PASSAGE | Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 22:36-40
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 22:36-40 ESV
 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Read Matthew 28:18-20
Tabitha mentioned that the word “nations” implies ethnic identity or a people group, not the way we think about nations in our culture as being about geopolitical boundaries.
What are we as followers of Jesus to do among all the nations?
What are the elements of becoming a disciple of Jesus according to this passage? How is the call to make disciples different from a call to assimilate others to a particular culture?
Read and compare with Matthew 22:36-40
Our various ethnic and cultural identities spring from the nature of God himself. Together they represent the fullness of who he is. So loving other cultures can help you understand and love God more fully. At the same time you are to love your neighbor as yourself. How does Jesus define who our neighbor is elsewhere in the Bible? (think about the parable of the Good Samaritan)
How should loving yourself, including your ethnic and cultural identity, help you cross cultures to love others who are different than you?
Why can we find it difficult to analyze or understand ourselves? How might that affect your ability to understand others?
What is true about your family’s history? Think about ethnic heritage, migration to this country, how your families ethnic identity is different today than then, what cultural assimilation looked like for your family, and what citizenship means to your family today.
How might your background create barriers to being able to connect with others about the gospel? What could you do to break down some of those barriers?
Think about the people you are around most often. What might be some barriers of belief that would make it difficult for them to understand or embrace the message about Jesus?
What are some of the cultures that you are a part of?
What are some cultural differences that have created angst between you and others in the past?
What helped you to move beyond those differences and move toward each other?
Pray that God would help you understand your own ethnic, theological, and cultural identities so that you can love and appreciate people who are different from you and be able to cross that divide to introduce them to Jesus.