Reading: Acts 10: 34-43
Peter opens today’s passage with an important statement, with one of the significant learning and understanding shifts in the early, early church: “God does not show favoritism”. It is a shift away from a small, select ‘chosen people’. Instead, Peter tells us, God is willing to accept all who fear God and who do what is right. When the church came to understand that God is for all, the whole world became the mission field. It was not just throughout Judea that they were called to bring the good news, but out into the entire world. People of all races, ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, religions, ecenomic classes, social classes… must hear the good news. This philosophy of accepting and welcoming all is the essence of Jesus’ ministry and is foundational to many of our churches today.
Peter then goes on to give a brief summary of Jesus’ ministry: bapitzed by John, anointed with the Holy Spirit, did good and healed, died on a cross, rose from the dead. After the resurrection, Jesus returned and commanded “us” to preach the good news and to testify that all who call on Jesus as Lord will receive forgiveness of sins. Again, Peter chooses words like ‘everyone’ and ‘all’ – anyone is welcome to hear the good news, to profess Jesus as Lord of their lives, and to receive forgiveness of their sins.
In the last few verses of chapter eleven, the people Peter was preaching to are overcome by the Holy Spirit, speak in tongues, and are baptized in the name of Jesus. The power of God entered that situation and welcomed some new members into the family. The command to preach and Testify is our command as well. To tell the good news and to share the story of what Jesus has done in our lives is our great commission as well. We accomplish this call with words, actions, deeds – whatever it takes for others to come to know Jesus Christ.
Today, may all of us who call on Jesus as Lord share the good news of Jesus Christ with any and all we meet.