The Other Guys (and Gals)

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The Other Guys (and Gals)

Genesis 36:1–8

Esau’s Descendants1

These are the descendants of Esau (that is, Edom). Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau; Basemath bore Reuel; and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, his cattle, all his livestock, and all the property he had acquired in the land of Canaan; and he moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. For their possessions were too great for them to live together; the land where they were staying could not support them because of their livestock. So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.

Acts 18:24–28

Ministry of Apollos

Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.

Every story… every history, has its heroes and villains. There are those who capture the attention of the audience and who draw out feelings of sympathy and empathy for the challenges they go through.

Then there are the other guys, the supporting cast. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad. I can easily remember Jean Valjean from Les Miserables but I cannot recall the names of the wicked innkeepers who helped raise young Cossette. Nor can I remember if the bishop who showed Jean grace at the beginning of his journey was even given a name.

Supporting roles are the pillars which hold up the platform of the stars. Our heroes only rise as high as those around can lift them up. Tweet: Our heroes only rise as high as those around can lift them up. Their stories and our stories, would be vastly different without these people.

Jacob/Israel’s very identity was tied to his brother Esau from the moment of his birth. Without his brother, he would have been an only child and may have never left home at all – completely changing the course of history. Without the conflict with his brother, he may have had younger siblings, giving us not just 12 tribes, but perhaps 20, divided between two patriarchs. Who knows?

But Esau’s part was not just in causing conflict at home, but in showing grace as reconciliation later as well. While Jacob was off on his adventures in marriage and having children, Esau was raising a family as well, enjoying the blessing and provision of God from afar, and finding healing in his own life so that, when the day arrived, he could show Jacob the grace he needed to transform the deceiver into the one who strives with God and the father of the 12 tribes of God’s people.

Priscilla and Aquila, (Notice the woman is mentioned first here!) were two lesser known, but essential heroes of the faith as well. They met with Paul in Corinth and encouraged him in his ministry so much that he took them with him to Ephesus. When it was time for him to leave there, they stayed on to care for the young Christian community. Apollos, yet another lesser known hero of the faith, followed after Paul as preacher and teacher to those in Ephasus. He knew the scriptures well and could point out the evidence that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. He, like all of us, had a weakness though… a place where he needed growth. He had little understanding about or experience with the Holy Spirit. So Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and taught him. They did not seek to take his place on the stage. They chose to be his supporting pillars and lift him up higher, thus furthering that ministry there in Ephasus and later on in Corinth when Apollos moved on to there.

It may be that we would not have the church today without Jacob or Paul, or even Apollos… but we would not have these heroes in the spotlight if there were not their supporting cast behind them in Esau, Priscilla, and Aquila. They were the ones that taught our heroes the grace they needed to teach us about grace.

Who are the supporting characters in your life?

Who are you supporting and lifting up into the spotlight?

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  1. (1 Chr 1:35–42)