Thursday 18 May 2017

Bible Book:

“I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (vv. 34-35)

Acts 10:34-43 Thursday 18 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm 7:1-11


This is the speech which Peter gave following the extraordinaryevents which have taken place at the home of Cornelius, a Romancenturion. Peter has been staying at the home of Simon the tanner,a fact of some significance since his occupation could beconsidered 'unclean' under Jewish law. While staying there, he wasinvited to Cornelius' home in Caesarea, following visions which hadbeen experienced by both men (Acts10:1-8, 9-16); in Peter's case of a sheet of uncleananimals being lowered in front of him with the divine command to"kill and eat" (Acts 10:13), and in Cornelius' case of an angeltelling him of the Peter's arrival in Joppa.

Their encounter at Cornelius' house brings home to each thetruth which had been revealed in the visions; in Cornelius' casethat his prayers had been answered and that there was a place forhim as a Gentile in the household of God; and in Peter's case thatfrom now on he was not to call "profane or unclean" those thingswhich God has made "clean" (Acts10:14-15), and that this insight refers not simply to the foodhe eats but to the people with whom he is to share it.

Peter's speech here brings home the truth which had beenrevealed to him, that God "shows no partiality, but in every nationanyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him".This is the first step in Peter's coming to understand that thegospel of Jesus Christ is intended for Gentiles as well as Jews,and indeed there are echoes of the same language which Paul used inhis letter to the Romans, of God showing "no partiality" (Romans2:11).

In the rest of this passage, Peter affirms the heart of thegospel message; how God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit, how hewent about doing good and healing the sick, how he was put to death"on a tree" (v. 39), and how God raised him on the third day; howJesus then appeared to witnesses who were commanded to testify thathe is "judge of the living and the dead" (v. 42).

What has changed now was Peter's recognition that the "all theprophets testify about him that everyone who believes in himreceives forgiveness of sins through his name" (v. 43). This is thegood news originally sent to the people of Israel - but which isnow to be shared with "everyone who believes in him" - as we shallexplore further in tomorrow's passage.

To Ponder

  • Are there things which we still consider 'unclean' in the lifeof the Church today? Why? And if so, how do you justify it?
  • How comfortable are we in sharing with Christians of othercultures or traditions - particularly when it comes to sharing foodand fellowship?
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