Date: Thursday, July 11
Scripture: Acts 10:17-33
Verse: and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. (Acts 10:28)
Yesterday we talked about rules and how they help us achieve an end. Sometimes in our history, and in other parts of the world today, the end the rules intended to achieve is the oppression of another group. The rules then separate and intentionally make things unfair – where one group receives favorable treatment over another. This too can happen in our faith journeys. We can set up one group as the favored insiders, and another as the outsiders who don’t fit or belong.
Today’s passage is part of a longer passage that started yesterday. Yesterday we read the beginning of Cornelius’ story, an angel tells him to send for Peter (vs 1-8), and a second story about Peter’s vision of the sheet and the clean and unclean animals (vs 9-16). Today’s passage concludes Cornelius’ story as his men arrive at Peter’s home and escort him back to share the gospel with Cornelius and many others. This story-telling technique of intertwining two stories, is a signal that these are not two separate stories but inform each other. So Peter’s vision about food, isn’t just about eating kosher, but is about Cornelius and others who are not Jewish. The response of Cornelius and these other Gentiles to the Gospel also sheds new light on the dietary laws shared in Peter’s vision. God does not want this separation between Jew and Gentile, but wants us to understand God can make anyone “clean” (Acts 10:28).
Peter must have been quite surprised to find that God could come even to his enemy, a Roman soldier. Through the vision and the response of Cornelius, Peter learns the Gospel is for everyone, even those we would least expect. We too can be reminded that the Gospel is not just for those who are like us, but can also change the lives of those we might not expect.
Prayer: Remind me, O God, that you love even those I find difficult to love. Amen.
Action: Initiate a deeper conversation with someone you don’t normally talk to.
Respond: What are some ways we might be able to reach out to those who are unlike us? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.