Acts, Chapter 10, introduces us to a devout, God-fearing, generous, humble and prayerful Roman soldier named Cornelius. God was pleased with this man’s stewardship and prayers, and so sent an angel messenger who encouraged him to invite Peter to come and speak to him and his entire household. At the same time, God showed Peter in a vision that he should welcome “this new thing God was doing” by bringing the gospel to non-Jews, who had not previously been included in hearing the life-giving message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
So, in obedience to God’s direction, Peter did go to the home of Cornelius and proclaimed, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear [love, honor, trust] Him and do what is right.” (Acts 10: 34-35) God desires for all people to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (Ezekiel 33: 11)
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter powerfully preached “telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ” to those who gathered there… “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him… [how] they killed Him by hanging Him on a tree, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen… by witnesses whom God had already chosen.” (Acts 10: 38-41) Through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit filled all those who heard the message of salvation and they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (v. 48)
Peter and the other Apostles had been called as “eyewitnesses” to preach and to testify that the Father had chosen Jesus to be the Judge of the living and the dead. These eyewitnesses and “All the prophets testify about [Jesus] that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.” (Acts 10: 43)
Peter needed to be convicted by God about “showing favoritism.” God’s precious Word, likewise, convicts us of our fearfulness, ignorance, partiality and prejudice toward others based on their age, economic standing, skin color, ethnicity and other factors.
Now, like Peter, we are called to be eyewitnesses of what God has graciously done in our lives… how Jesus came to us while we were yet sinners and died in our place; how the Holy Spirit has filled us with saving faith and calls us to put aside our preconceived ideas, prejudices and fears toward others so that we can joyfully and vigorously proclaim “the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”
God shows no favoritism and neither should we! The Evangelist John was shown a revelation by God picturing Heaven with “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9) For Heaven to look this way “someday,” our church needs to start to look like this “now!” May God graciously work through our tireless proclamation of Christ so that more and more might see, hear, believe and be saved!
Blessings in Christ,