Acts 10:23 The next day (Peter) got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshiped him. 26 But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; 28 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. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. 31 He said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.”
Sometimes it’s not easy to discern what the Lord would have us do in life, which way we should go, and so on. But sometimes God makes it perfectly clear, as was the case here with Peter. The challenge for Peter was not hearing from the Lord, but obeying the Lord despite the fact he was being sent to Gentiles, which Jews were not to associate with (v.28). God pushed Peter outside of a boundary he had observed his entire life – a boundary God himself had established. But times had changed and the Kingdom of God was advancing in new ways through Jesus.
This year I am hopeful the church I lead as pastor will lean into outreach with renewed vigor after spending three years being somewhat limited in our outward focus. It seems that Covid is here to stay. Yet the mission of the church to make disciples of all nations remains in force – virus or no virus. My prayer this morning is that the Lord would reveal to us the persons he has prepared in advance to receive what we have to offer – new life in Jesus Christ. My expectation as that such persons may be culturally different than our current church community – perhaps ethnically, socio-economically, or in some other way. This is never easy but, empowered by the Holy Spirit, it is possible. Even necessary. Lord let it be so. Amen.