“’You are well aware that it is against over law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not all any man impure and unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?’ Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea. So I sent for you immediately, and it was goof of you to come. Now we are all here n the presences of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us. Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is thatGod does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts10:28-35)
Peter’s vision was fresh insight to him. Yet, at root it is the same inclusiveness for God’s message of faith finally understood by Jonah. Perhaps no prejudice is more dangerous or difficult to displace than one held in place by religious tradition.
Place of birth, cultural tradition, color of skin, sex, race, and nationality seem to separate us. The gospel calls us all together as one family in God’s church.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, by Your Holy Spirit we are reminded that we as a church for Jesus Christ, is a mixture of people of many birthplaces, cultural traditions, colors of skin, sexes, races and nationalities, but we come together as one in Christ Jesus. As Your church, we are expected to welcome all into our worship services, to praise God and then work together in our communities to meet the needs of all people, no exceptions. It is in Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Have your tools ready and God will supply the work.”
“Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worth of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of he earth.’ When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”(Acts 13:46–48)
At the risk of losing favor with fellow Christians, Paul and Barnabas still followed the higher plane of taking the gospel to all people. Faith leads to eternal life. Rejecting Christ forfeits hope for eternal life. The missionaries realized that salvation was “first for the Jew” but also for the Greeks or Gentiles. It is for all who will respond. Believers of all backgrounds honor God with their changed lives and experience God’s joy.
“From one man he made a nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (Acts 17:26)
The verse has been used to defend racism on the grounds that certain ethnic groups should “go back to where they came from” or “stay where they belong.” These statements show immaturity in knowledge of God and His purposes. The verse is part of the larger context of Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill dealing with the sovereignty of God. Thus, the primary discussion is God-centered or theological and not man-centered or anthropological. Rather than supporting God-ordained racial superiority, this verse portrays the encompassing love of God for all people. From creation onward we share common characteristics as members of God’s created family. Creation joins us together rather separates us.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, an when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him to took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him’, he said, and ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:30–37)
Jesus used God’s imperatives as the basis of His teaching. To gain eternal life through the law required complete, unselfish devotion to ‘God and others. Despite the lawyer’s initial claim, he and all others fell short. Persons cannot ‘Justify’ themselves. Faith in Christ’s atoning work is necessary. Salvation in Christ sharpens our obligation to devote life to God and neighbor rather than to self and ego-boosting rules.
Tensions between two races have never been higher than those between Jews and Samaritans. Jesus told Jews that Samaritans who help in self-giving love make the best neighbors. Self-giving love overcomes all racial barriers, beloved.