November 8 I Sunday
“The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.”
Throughout the book of Acts, we see Peter mature as an apostle of Jesus Christ. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached and 3,000 came to faith. In chapter 4, Peter was arrested because he boldly proclaimed, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Then in chapter 8, Peter, along with John, was able to witness the acceptance of Samaritans into the Kingdom of God.
In Acts 10, while Peter was praying, he fell into a trance and saw “heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.” Afterwards, a voice told Peter, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” Peter replied, “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” But three times the voice told Peter, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” At that moment, three men came looking for Peter because Cornelius, a Roman centurion in Caesarea, received a message from the angel of the Lord to send his servants to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon, who was called Peter. As Peter was thinking of the vision, the Spirit told him, “Simon, three men are looking for you…Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them” (Acts 10:11-20).
In the culture of that time, Jews did not associate with Gentiles, let alone a Gentile of Gentiles—a Roman centurion. We could tell of Peter’s unease as he said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile.” Then, he added, “But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean....May I ask why you sent for me?” (Acts 10:28-29).
It had not occurred to Peter that he was invited there to preach the gospel probably because, in Peter’s theology, God would not accept a Roman centurion; these were the people who nailed Jesus to the cross. Cornelius shared with Peter the vision he had from the angel of the Lord. Then it dawned on Peter, “I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34-35). Peter preached and the Holy Spirit came on them just as it did to the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
If a Roman centurion can receive salvation, Peter realized that the gospel is for every nation under heaven.
Prayer: Dear Sovereign God, indeed Your gospel of salvation is for everyone. Thank You for not showing favouritism in reconciling all nations and people groups to You.