The time had come! The Gentiles were about to receive the word of The Lord for the first time from the mouth of Peter. The household and friends of Cornelius the Roman centurion had come together as directed by the angel of The Lord and Peter had come to them also as directed by The Lord.
Now the time had come for the beginning of the fulfilment of the prophecies stating that Jesus was to be the light to the Gentiles and in Him they would finally have the hope of salvation. As Peter prepares to speak with them he opens their eyes to the first matter that we all need to learn. He addresses one of the great issues that had existed for centuries.
And it is a lesson that comes down to us today for it is still a major problem in the people’s of the world. Everywhere this particular matter has caused division and disruption. It has led to murder, deaths, insurrections, uprisings and more. It has fuelled hatred and dissension and torn apart the fabric of many societies.
And if people had only listened to the words that Peter spoke to the Gentiles on this day almost two thousand years ago, all of that pain and suffering could have been avoided. What was the issue? Read on…
One of the major stumbling blocks was the wall that stood between the Jews and the Gentiles, and at its root was racism. The Jews would have nothing to do with the Gentiles and this was written into their laws. But in Jesus Christ all of this was about to be pulled down and undone…as it should be. Note the opening words of Peter to the Gentiles in this section of scripture in verses 34-35.
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
Here is the key to overcoming racism. God shows no partiality against anyone on any grounds. So why does man? Why is it that one man will stand opposed to another on the basis of the colour of their skin, or their nationality, or race, religion or creed? It is foolishness and evil of the highest order. If God does not show partiality, are we greater than God that we should be partial and prejudiced against our fellow man?
There are few things more abhorrent and hateful than discrimination. Whether it is on the basis of race, as was the case withthe Jews and the Gentils, or anything else it is to be shunned as the disgraceful practice that it is. It has robbed the world of so many lives and so much potential that it is possibly the most shameful practice among men. Shun it at all times.
The Good News
Peter went on after making these insightful statements to begin preaching the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. He showed no partiality and told them all that The Lord had instructed him. Note his next words in verse 36 as he spoke to the assembled group.
As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)
What was the good news that Peter showed Jesus had preached? Peace! What is racism? Conflict! When you break down the barriers of conflict in racism you have peace. When you see all Christians as brothers and sisters and ignore race, colour, creeds and so on, you are at peace.
And that is what Jesus has called us to first and foremost. He has called us all to find peace, not as the world knows it but the true peace that comes from God where all barriers, walls and obstacles are pulled down and removed.
And Peter continued on with the other great themes of the Christian faith as he first spoke to the Gentiles. His next words show the continuing path that was to be followed as the people walked in Christ in verse 37-38.
37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Jesus released the people from all the opposes sins of the devil. He released them from sickness and infirmity, from demon possession and oppression and what He gave them was freedom. He taught them the freedom to be able to do what they should, to praise and worship God. It is not a freedom to do what you want, but rather the freedom to do what is right in the sight of God.
Ad the mechanism of this freedom was taught by the Holy Spirit and power, and that same Holy Spirit and power is available to you and I today. When we come to The Lord we must follow his lead. Note in the above verses that Jesus first came and was baptised in water. We should do the same. He then received the Holy Spirit and likewise we should do the same. It is then that the power of God is released to give us the peace and the freedom that comes from God.
How important are these things? Absolutely critical! We will see just ow critical they are as we go into the next section of chapter 10 in Acts.
(Picture sourced from ChristiansUnite.com)
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