Lord of All
“Peter said, ‘I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him.’” (vs 34-35)
I know this was a rather lengthy reading, the entire 10th chapter of Acts. I just couldn’t split up this account of the Holy Spirit coming. Way back in Acts 2, we saw the Holy Spirit come to the apostles like tongues of fire. It was an out pouring of the Holy Spirit on Jewish Christians. Now 8 chapters later, we see that the Holy Spirit is not just for Jewish Christians, it is also for Gentile Christians. In other words, the Holy Spirit is given to all those who believe in Jesus.
Peter wasn’t very convinced that God could change the hearts and lives of gentile (non- Jewish) people. Peter was Jewish. The disciples were Jewish. Jesus was Jewish. They had been circumsized as infants, studied Torah as young men, kept Jewish laws and festivals, and made appropriate sacrifices in order to be holy, set apart for God, people. It made sense to Peter when other Jewish people, like him, recognized Jesus as the long hoped for Savior/Messiah. But when it came to non-Jewish people, gentiles, Peter was not convinced. God works a unique work in Peter’s life to pop his little bubble and help him to see God’s love for all people. He gives Peter a vision to help Peter understand.
I love Peter’s honesty. He shows up at a house full of non-Jewish persons and says “look guys, I gotta be honest. I really don’t believe that people like me (Jewish) should be spending time with people like you (non-Jewish), but God gave me this vision and compelled me to come here to you.” Thankfully Peter’s gracious hosts are upset or offended by his honesty. Peter goes on to say that he is starting to realize that God doesn’t play favorites among human beings. God offers salvation to everyone. And God accepts anyone who accepts Jesus.
It is easy for us to be like Peter without even realizing it. It is easy for us to quickly condemn other human beings who we deem to be less worthy of salvation, less righteous. Usually the persons we are quick to dismiss are those who seem the least like “me.” Yet Christ is Lord of all creation. Jesus is good news of great joy for ALL peoples. The Holy Spirit is available to EVERYone who accepts Jesus. I wonder how many times Jesus has called me to share HIS story with another and I resisted because it was a person or persons I didn’t think I should be spending time with?