The concept of and loyalty to a “clan” or “tribe” has been lost on most of us. Perhaps if you have a Native American, Scottish, or Irish heritage you may be able to identify your family’s “clan” or “tribe”.
For most Americans, however, when our ancestors came to this country they took the notion of “E Pluribus Unum” seriously. They became “Americans” first and their children held even looser to their ethnic heritage. In a couple of generations in this nation, most immigrants had become ethnic “mutts”.
Yet to most people who have ever lived their tribal clan or ethnic identity is of paramount importance. Being a part of their heritage makes them part of a historic group which gives them a place in the world. They are part of something larger and more durable than themselves. The group gives them a worldview and customs. It is not easy for most people who have ever lived to walk away from their “clan”, “tribe”, or ethnic heritage.
That is why being a Jew and following the Old Testament Law and traditions was so difficult for the early Christian movement to overcome. The challenge for the Apostles was to show convincingly that the Gospel was the fulfillment of the Jewish faith. What began with God’s call of Abraham, the Father of the Jewish people was completed with Jesus. In today’s text, Paul describes how anyone, Jew or Gentile, who has placed their faith in Jesus is now in one family with Him!
The Acts of the Apostles, Part 57 – Outline (PDF)