Acts 10:34 Then Peter began to speak to (the Roman centurion named Cornelius and his entire household): “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and 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 ordained by God 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.”
In the book of Acts we see the gospel move from Jerusalem and Judea (home of the Israelites) to other peoples and cultures – in this case, to a Roman military leader and his household). The surprise of the gospels and Acts is how many Jews were reluctant to believe Jesus was the promised Messiah, but non-Jews seemed more open. Probably because they didn’t have pre-conceived ideas about the Messiah in the same way as Jews, who expected someone to rule from a throne with military might a la King David.
Anyway, I’m noticing the nature of the good news Peter is sharing with Cornelius and his people. Peter was “preaching peace by Jesus Christ – he is Lord of all” (v.36). In other words, even Gentiles were able to have peace with God the Father by the forgiveness of sins offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Son. “Everyone who believes in (Jesus) receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” I don’t imagine it was common for Roman soldiers to be concerned with sins against the Jewish God, but we were told earlier in this chapter that Cornelius was “a devout man who feared God”.
As a pastor I often hear how our culture is growing increasingly secular in nature, which is undoubtedly true. But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t continue to call people to himself – Christian or not. Something important for me to remember, particularly in preaching and teaching. Lord Jesus, you are indeed Lord of all. Make me and those reading this blog post proclaimers of the good news of Jesus Christ. Amen.