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May 16

Acts 10:34-43

34 Peter began to speak: “Now I truly understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, 35 but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—​he is Lord of all. 37 You know the events that took place throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the devil, because God was with him. 39 We ourselves are witnesses of everything he did in both the Judean country and in Jerusalem, and yet they killed him by hanging him on a tree. 40 God raised up this man on the third day and caused him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us whom God appointed as witnesses, 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 appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that through his name everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins.” — Acts 10:34-43

A Gospel for Everyone

by John French

At the beginning of the early church, Jesus made it clear that He wanted the gospel to go to every tribe, tongue and nation. During the post-resurrection training period, He said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down and created, in a sense, the first worship service of the early church. That first service was multi-lingual and the audience was multi-cultural.

Despite this clear sign from God and others we see in the book of Acts, the early church was primarily Jewish. When we pick up the story in Acts 10, we are introduced to Cornelius, a God-fearing Roman soldier who sends for Peter. As Peter meets with Cornelius, a light comes on for Peter. In verses 34-35 we see this: “Peter began to speak: ‘Now I truly understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

In today’s passage, we see one word that recurs throughout Peter’s sermon: the word “all.” Verse 36, Jesus is Lord of all. In verse 38, Jesus healed all who were oppressed by the devil. Peter ends his sermon with “All the prophets testify about him that through his name everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins.” (Vs. 43.)

The lesson Peter learned is a lesson we all need to be reminded of. Jesus came for all of us, regardless of our race, nationality, gender, social economic class, political party or favorite sports team. I know some of us may read this and feel “Oh, I’m not a racist, so I’m good.” God’s endgame isn’t just eliminating racism; it is achieving diversity. God’s vision to Peter was to go to Cornelius—to go to his house and eat with him, to worship with him, to live life with him. Multiculturalism is the fruit of the gospel.

Praxis

  1. Have you gone to the full measure of what the gospel calls for you?
  2. From today’s reading, what has surprised, encouraged or troubled you?
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