Today's Bible Reading: Acts 10
Selected Biblical Text
So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him....
While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. (Acts 10:34-38, 44-48, ESV)
Reflecting and Thinking
It is fair to say that the next step in the spread of the gospel was difficult. We may miss the difficulty due to our familiarity with the text. Paul is chosen as an apostle to the Gentiles. It is now clear that the gospel is also for the Gentiles. The spread of the gospel into the entire world will not be limited to Jews. The gospel is for all. How do you convince separatist Jews that the Gentiles can be included and can receive the gospel? Peter was convinced by the miraculous vision he received on the rooftop. Peter's sermon in this chapter declares God's impartiality. Those who accompanied Peter to the house of Cornelius were convinced by a different kind of miracle -- the coming and presence of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles. This miraculous outpouring served as a sign; what happened was not the norm in the early church. In this case, after receiving the Holy Spirit, the Gentiles still needed to be baptized. They still needed to be saved. We must not err by making a special occasion the pattern for all occasions. Each text must be understood in its context, and the context for Acts 10 is the salvation stories in the rest of the book of Acts.
Does the modern church ever limit the gospel by refusing or failing to take the gospel to those God wants to reach? Where does God want the gospel to go today? What places or people are within your reach, your sphere of influence, or your daily routines? Are you willing to be God's instrument to take the gospel to those places?
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your love and mercy extended to me and to the entire world through Jesus. Help me be like Jesus by doing good. Help me see those in my path today who need the gospel. Please be present with me as I share the Good News. In the name of Jesus, the One who is at the center of the Good News, Amen.