Day 16 - Concord Student Journey
Read acts chapter 10:24-48
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea.Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile.But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”
30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothesstood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointedJesus 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.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[b] and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
In Acts chapter 10, we find the inspiring story of Cornelius, a God-fearing man, who was visited by an angel and instructed to send for Peter. Peter, on the other hand, had a vision from God about accepting people of all nations, and the two men were brought together by the Holy Spirit. This meeting between Peter and Cornelius led to the opening of the Gospel to the Gentiles, fulfilling the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah that all people will one day worship God.
In verses 24-48, we see the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the hearts of both Peter and Cornelius. Despite their cultural and religious differences, they were united by their faith in Jesus Christ. This story reminds us that God's love knows no boundaries and that the Gospel is for everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background.
Peter's willingness to step out of his comfort zone and share the Gospel with someone who was not of his own cultural or religious background is an example for us. He could have easily refused the invitation to visit Cornelius, but instead, he chose to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
The second inspirational example is Cornelius' faith in God and his willingness to seek the truth. Despite his Roman background, he had a heart for God and was open to the possibility that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. He believed in the message that Peter shared with him and was baptized along with his entire household.
Reflection question 1: How can we follow the example of Peter and Cornelius by stepping out of our comfort zones and sharing the Gospel with people who may be different from us?
Reflection question 2: Are there any cultural or religious barriers in our own lives that prevent us from fully embracing the Gospel message and accepting people of all nations as our brothers and sisters in Christ? How can we overcome these barriers and grow in our understanding of God's love for all people?
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