Thursday 14 July 2022

Bible Book:

'He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.' (vs 42-43)

Acts 10:34-43 Thursday 14 July 2022

Psalm 7:1-11


Jesus held what might be seen as the first church council, to elect a successor to Judas Iscariot (the disciple who betrayed him). Peter assumed a lead role, and set out the primary criterion for the appointment: it should be someone who had been part of the group from Jesus’ baptism to his ascension (2:22). The reason for this, as with any properly conducted recruitment process, can be found in the job description: to “become a witness with us to his resurrection.” The one appointed to become an apostle needed to be able to bear witness to the great miracle of Easter, but must also have lived the journey to that point. He should be able to set the resurrection firmly in the context of the life, ministry and death of Jesus.

It should, then, be no surprise that Peter, preaching to Cornelius and his family, did so by recounting – albeit in summary – the whole story of Jesus from baptism to ascension. His task was simply to tell people who Jesus is. Notice the emphasis through the passage on the identity of Peter and his fellow apostles as witnesses to Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection. ‘Apostle’ means ‘one who is sent’, and Peter was clear that their sending out was a command not just to preach, but to testify.

Up to this point, their witness had been to those who already shared their Jewish faith; they had been offering a new understanding of that faith, rather than a conversion to a different religion. That is, to a degree, true here too; Cornelius was a ‘God-fearer’ – a Gentile who worshipped the God of Israel, but had not taken the step of converting to Judaism, and was therefore not within the covenant of Abraham.

It is hard, from the distance of 2000 years, to appreciate just how astonishing this was. Peter’s testimony is book-ended by his startling new understanding, based on his experience and on Scripture – that God’s grace was and is wider than he had ever imagined.

To Ponder:

  • The apostles’ testimony began with what they had seen, lived and experienced. How will you, in the encounters that you have over the coming days and weeks, bear witness to what you know of Christ’s loving, compassionate salvation?
  • Peter said "God shows no partiality" but we are not God, and do not always see with God’s eyes. Where might you, or your church or community, show partiality, consciously or unconsciously? How will you challenge those biases?


Thank you God that you show no partiality, but love all equally. Thank you that you do not judge us based on outward appearance or accident of birth, but look deep into our hearts. And thank you, that seeing into our hearts, you love us still.

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