Scripture: Acts 10:17-33
Key verse: (26) But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.”
Reflection: Chapter ten of Acts is a tremendous turning point in the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a Jew. All of the disciples were Jews. They understood the gospel to be good news for Jews — the Messiah had come to bring salvation to God’s chosen people. But in chapter ten, Peter had a dream that opened his mind and broadened his understanding of the good news. He was led to an encounter with a Gentile (a non-Jew) named Cornelius. He proclaimed the good news to Cornelius and Cornelius believed and was baptized as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I confess that I have read this story many times but I never thought much about the key verse above. Now I think it might be the most important verse in the story! When Peter arrived at Cornelius’ home, Cornelius was expecting him and he fell at Peter’s feet and worshiped him. That’s when Peter told him to get up and confessed, “I am only a mortal.”
“I am only a mortal.” I am not God. I am not to be worshiped. I am not the judge of your faith or your salvation. I am not the creator of life or the giver of grace. I am not the one who determines the boundaries of the kingdom. I am not the one who controls the wind of the Holy Spirit. I am only a mortal.
I haven’t had anyone fall at my feet and worship me (yet!!). But I need the regular reminder that I am only a mortal. I need to say that again and again to myself when I am tempted to act like God. I need to live with that humility that enables God to work through me in new and surprising ways. I need to recognize my limits and I need to honor God’s limitless mercy. I am only a mortal. And you are too.
Prayer: Almighty God, sometimes when I’m trying to be faithful, I overstep and forget my place. I judge others with arrogance. I create boundaries for grace and obstacles for salvation. Remind me of my mortality. Humble me gently so that I might live with gentleness. Through Christ I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].