6 May 2015Acts 10:34-43
“…but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (v. 35)
Psalm: Psalm 2
Here we join Peter as he begins to speak to an unusual group of people. Cornelius and his family were Gentiles (non Jews) and not the usual audience Peter or any of the other Apostles would have gone to share the good news with. It has taken visions and messages to both Cornelius and Peter (Acts 10:1-33) to bring about this momentous occasion.
Up to this point the Apostles understood their mission as to the Jews and to the closely related Samaritans. Here, though, Peter has had his eyes opened to the truth that God's salvation is for all people and not just some. This was a revelation to Peter's understanding, and caused the Apostles in Jerusalem to question why he did such a thing.
Peter begins his speech with an affirmation of this new revelation that "in every nation anyone who fears him … is acceptable to him". Peter preaches the basics of his faith to those gathered following a pattern that mirrors Mark's Gospel in its structure. He starts with John the Baptist (Mark 1:1-8) then Jesus' Baptism and anointing with the Spirit (Mark 1:8-13), followed by his ministry in Jerusalem and Judea (Mark 1-10). Peter witnesses to Jesus' death and resurrection (verses 39-40, see Mark chapters 11-16), and to the truth that for everyone that believes in him there is forgiveness of sin (verse 43).
In these final words Peter affirms his new understanding of what everyone means. At Pentecost everyone meant Jews in every nation (Acts 2:1-42). Here it now means everyone who believes in Jesus from any tribe or nation.
Peter went out taking up his missionary journey to bring change to people's lives through the good news of Jesus. It was as he took part in this mission that he was also changed through the revealing of God's love for all people.
- How doPeter's words that "God shows no partiality…" (v. 34) challenge you and the Church's approach to others?
- Peter begins to understand God in a new way in this story. How have you seen God in a new light through your experience of God's guidance?
- Peter discovers new things about God as he shares the good news. Have you experienced a time when you have been involved in mission and discovered something new? If so, what was it?