"In today’s reading in Acts chapter 10 verse 1 to chapter 11 verse 18 the Gentiles receive the Good News. Cornelius, a devout Gentile, was commanded in a vision to send for Peter. Meanwhile the Lord appeared to Peter and commanded him to accompany the men Cornelius had sent. While Peter was preaching his message to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his companions. In this was Peter and the Apostles accepted that the gospel was not only for Jews but for all." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)
The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."After everything Peter and the other disciples had seen and heard from Jesus they still thought that salvation was only for the Jews. After all, God set apart Israel to be holy, to be his people. Everyone else was a gentile. Jesus turned everything upside down. He touched those who by Jewish law would make him 'unclean'. He spoke and even healed the 'unclean' and the foreigners. The disciples had forgotten or just missed what Jesus had been showing and telling them.
... He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with Gentiles or visit them. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.
... Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts those from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
...When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life."
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written. The Christ will suffer. He will rise from the dead on the third day. His followers will preach in his name. They will tell others to turn away from their sins and be forgiven. People from every nation will hear it, beginning at Jerusalem. You have seen these things with your own eyes. (Luke 24:45-48)Jesus also told them to go make disciple of all nations.
Then Jesus came to them. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end." (Matthew 28:18-20)In Peter's dream the Holy Spirit reminded him that Jesus came to make anyone who turned to God clean. All people of all races and all nations can come to God through Christ.
It is so easy, as humans, to draw lines between us and them. Lines that so easily become walls. Walls that grow, bend, even encircle and eventually wall us in. Trap us. We become isolated and cut off. We think we are protecting the Kingdom only to find out we are missing out on the incredible work of the Kingdom of God. Christianity is all about tearing down the walls not building them.
I know I have drawn lines and built walls. This passage is just one of many reminders to me in the Bible that I must resist this human tendency. I must tear down those walls I have built in my own life between "us and them".
I am working through the E100 Bible Reading Challenge again. You can learn more about my journey and read the other posts completed so far at this link. I encourage you to stop back soon to read another passage.
Please share your own thoughts on this passage in the comment section below or on the Facebook page.