I promised yesterday that we would get to the part of the story where Peter gets to share the gospel. We are here! When we left off yesterday we were at the point of “what do you want to say” and “what do you want me to say.” That question was answered by the Spirit instead of either of the two men.
Peter finally “got it!” “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” (verse 34-35). The Spirit caused the vision and the current experience to suddenly click into place. It took Cornelius’ relating his visitation to put the final pieces into place, but now Peter could clearly see the correlation between the vision and his mission to this Gentile home. Now Peter KNEW what he was supposed to talk about.
Peter started by sharing “the word that He sent to Israel” through Jesus. The events of Jesus’ life and death were well known in the region. Peter uses their previous acquaintance with the events as a platform to build upon. He starts at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry but only hits the high points, until he gets to the end of Jesus’ life here on earth.
Peter spends a little extra time with Jesus’ resurrection. This wasn’t common knowledge throughout the region like His actions during His life had been. Jesus was selective in who He visited after He rose from the dead. His disciples were to be the key witnesses to this amazing event. They weren’t the only ones but they were the most reliable and informed. Jesus even “ate and drank” with them after He rose from the dead.
Peter then shares the one thing Jesus asked his disciples to do for Him; “to preach to the people and to testify the He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” (verse 42). THIS was the encapsulation of all the tasks Jesus had set before them.
We are still called to do the same in our lives. This doesn’t mean that we are all to become missionaries, pastors, teachers or evangelists. What it does mean is that we are to be witnesses of Jesus’ love to anyone we meet. This is through word and/or deed. We don’t have to stand on the street corner and shout to the world. Instead we are to show God’s love through our actions by NOT judging our brothers and sisters. Let God and Jesus be the judge. We can be the loving arms that reach out to hold the hurting. We should be feet that walk beside the lost one and gently point the way to the right path. We ought to be the hands that feed the hungry. Most of all, we have to be the voice that bears witness to Jesus’ forgiveness for ANYONE’S sins who will call on His name. THIS is what the whole bible boils down to; Jesus calls us all to Himself and to those who answer that call, He gives forgiveness and eternal life.
Later on we are going to get to look at the “requirements” of that promise and how they relate to the vision Peter received. For today, it is enough to know that ALL are welcome to partake in His promise. Jew AND Gentile; slave AND free; male AND female… “Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (verse 43).
Holy Spirit, thank You for making all the pieces fall into place for Peter. Father God, thank You for including me in Your original plan. Lord Jesus, thank You for including me in Your payment for sin. I am an “everyone” and a “whosoever.” Help me share that message through my words AND deeds. Don’t let my words become tarnished by the way I behave. Nothing sours a testimony for You faster than actions that reflect hate. Help me live a life of love; YOUR love. Remind me that without You and Your forgiveness I too would be totally lost.
Fill me with Your love, words, and wisdom when we reach the point in our discussion about grace and works. You know my heart here wants to help and not condemn. Don’t let me come off as judgmental. I trust You in advance to bring us the words YOU want to share, just as You brought them to Peter that day.