If any story in the Bible wreaks of God’s grace given freely without favoritism, this one does! Wow – which part of this chapter do I start with?! Mama Mia ~ There’s this Cornelius guy who is in charge of 100 soldiers and it says he & his family were “devout and God-fearing” but were not believers in Jesus (yet). He sees an angel who tells him to send some men to go get Peter so he can hear about Jesus. In the meanwhile, Peter gets hungry, falls into a trance and God spreads out a sort of tablecloth full of animals and tells him to eat them. Peter looks at what’s for dinner and reminds God that some of these things are not pure, to which God basically replies that it’s ok. This goes on for a bit and suddenly Cornelius’ men show up. Peter is a bit baffled (I’ll bet) but the Holy Spirit tells him to go see these men. They tell Peter that Cornelius sent them to hear about Jesus. Peter then takes advantage of this witnessing opportunity and then next day leaves for Cornelius’ house. As Peter enters Cornelius’ home (one small step for Peter, one HUGE step for world missions), Cornelius falls at his feet. Peter, realizing he’s only a man, tells him to get up and proceeds to share the good news of Jesus with him! What is that good news? That God “…does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation…” It’s the “…good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” And they believe! God is saving Gentiles!!! Whoohoo – because that’s me!
*It was a HUGE step for Peter to invite Gentiles into his home. But as God introduced a new standard, Peter responded with obedience. Change can be hard. In what area of thinking is God asking you to change? If we are daily being conformed to HIS image (Romans 8), that means we need to change. As we read these messages, let’s ask God to help us to obey them!
*Have you experienced God’s peace? Sure, we can have things going on in our lives that are unsettling but I’m talking about the peace that makes us right with God. Jesus offers that peace TODAY! All we can do is believe & receive!
*Is there someone or a group of people you “look down on”? Maybe there are some students at your school who are outcasts. Maybe where you work there are some who don’t get invited to lunch. Why not make today the day we start to agree with God – who shows no favoritism – and reach out to them?!