12 January 2021Acts 10:34-43
'All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.' (v. 43)
In this passage, Peter is preaching in the home of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, following a vision in which God made it clear to him that the message of Jesus is not just for the Jewish people but also for the Gentiles. It is clear that God has been working in the life of Cornelius and Peter recognises and reminds his hearers that God does not show favouritism – the Gospel is good news for all people. Cornelius had already demonstrated that he had faith in God, but Peter explains to him and his household the message of salvation is through trust in Jesus. This reading ends with those encouraging words that "everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
If you read on in Acts chapter 10 you will discover that as Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on those present in a supernatural way, leaving Peter in no doubt that God’s salvation was for all people.
I wonder if there are any groups of people that you feel are outside the good news of Jesus? It can be easy to dismiss people who are not like us, or who don’t fit our idea of what a Christian should be. There used to be a Marks and Spencer advert with the slogan, ‘Exclusively for everyone’. That is the wonderful good news of the Gospel of Jesus. There is no-one outside the reach of God’s love and no-one who has fallen too far to come back to the love of God in Jesus. If we are Christians, then our calling is to share that good news of the love of Jesus with everyone, so that they too can have the opportunity to receive God's forgiveness and salvation. Not everyone will accept the invitation to come to know Jesus, but all must be invited – even those we find hard to love, or those against whom we may harbour prejudice. God does not show favouritism and neither should we!
- Is there someone against whom you harbour prejudice, or feel is outside God’s love? How can you show them the love of Jesus today?
- Do you sometimes feel as though you are beyond the reach of God’s love because of your past, your background, or for any other reason? Hear these words today – God does not show favouritism and nothing can separate you from his love.
Lord Jesus, forgive us for the times when we harbour resentment, prejudice or hatred towards another person or group of people. Help us to understand the enormity of your love – you were willing to sacrifice yourself and to die for the salvation of all who put their trust in you. Help us to share the good news of your love with everyone we meet in word and deed. Amen.