Acts 10:34-38 (NIV)
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. You know the message that God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him…”
In the verses preceding this scriptural reference, Paul had been summoned by Cornelius, a righteous Gentile, who wanted to know more about Jesus. Peter went to Cornelius’ house and explained that it was unlawful for Jews to associate with Gentiles but that he realizes he shouldn’t think that way. Cornelius was a centurion who had been selected to oversee some soldiers in the Roman forces. He was God-fearing and devout. He knew that God had promised a Savior but didn’t understand that Jesus was the promised Savior.
Peter was able to explain that Jesus was the promised Savior who fulfilled what God had planned. God gave Jesus the power to go around doing good and healing people. Peter also explained that Jesus took away the sins of the world by dying on the cross and then rose from the dead. Peter now realizes that God loves the Gentiles and all people, regardless of their nationality.
Sometimes, like Peter, we forget that no matter who a person is, regardless of status, economic situation, or religion, God loves them and doesn’t show favoritism. God changes the way people think. The purpose of the church is to give God’s message to everyone. God uses us to spread the message that he can change people for the better. The door is open if you love God and are ready to do as he says.
I think the Reverend David Wylie’s formula says it all. Fear of God + prayer +taking care of the poor + LOVE for all nations = the peace of Jesus Christ, Lord of all.
Heavenly Father, help me to strengthen my faith and change the way I think about others. Help me to remember that God is the God of all people. Amen.