Scripture: Acts 10:17-33
Key verse: (28) and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.
Reflection: Have you ever noticed that the person driving so slow in front of you is always a jerk, and the person who speeds past you is always a lunatic? We are all prone to justify ourselves and to condemn those who are different than we are. We are prone to judge others according to outward characteristics or circumstantial evidence, rather than to accept them as individual human beings, broken and falling short of the glory of God, just like us.
Peter received a vision that would change the trajectory of the spread of the gospel message. The definition of clean and unclean is now meaningless. But what is interesting is how God uses the most unlikely to convey universal salvation.
Great faith is needed when stepping outside of our comfort zone. Peter, encountering the visitors from Caesarea, could have sent them to the local Gentile motel. Instead, Peter began to realize the gospel message and re imagine the ministry he is called to as a disciple. When Peter then arrived at Cornelius’s house, he was surprised not only to find a handful of Gentiles, but a whole house full! Peter’s remark in verse 28 is not rude or dismissive. He was acknowledging the obvious uncomfortable violation of the current custom that Jews and Gentiles were not to associate with each other, let alone enter into the other’s house. Peter, then explains why he is deliberately violating social norms.
Imagine a world where we all stepped out of our comfort zone, associated with the other in love, welcomed the stranger into our house or accepted the invitation from another. I wonder how you may be called to step into the uncomfortable, crossing divides that society has claimed as custom, in order to spread the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: God, grant me the courage to encounter the other, the openness to welcome my neighbor, and the love that sees them as your beloved child. I pray this day to step into uncomfortable vulnerability to share the gospel message. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[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].