1 Kings 15:25-16:28; Acts 10:34-48; Psalms 134:1-135:4; Proverbs 28:21-22
NT: “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. He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all… While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and declaring the greatness of God. Then Peter responded, “Can anyone withhold water and prevent these people from being baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.” (Acts 10:34-36, 44-48 CSB)
Peter’s revelation was pivotal and key to seeing Christ’s commission fully accomplished. God isn’t looking for a certain race, a certain gender, a certain language, a certain ethnicity, a certain job title, or even a certain age or socio-economic status. God is looking for people who fear Him and live according to His righteousness. Anyone who willfully and humbly comes under His Lordship is acceptable to Him. When Peter understood that, the doors to the kingdom of heaven flew open for the entire world – Jew and gentile alike. The gospel came first to the Israelites, but it doesn’t stop there. The good news of peace through Jesus Christ is available to all. To confirm Peter’s new revelation, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on all of the gentiles in Cornelius’ household – before they were even baptized in water. Equal doesn’t mean exactly alike. Thankfully, when we come to Jesus, we aren’t made into identical clones. We maintain our uniqueness. God graces us all differently and calls us to different roles and responsibilities, and different levels of authority. But when it comes to value, we are all equal – we all have the opportunity to be free from sin, to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and to be transformed into the likeness of Christ as we undergo the process of sanctification. We all equally have the call and commission to be witnesses of God’s good news and make disciples of all who believe our message. What does that mean for us? We do not withhold the gospel from anyone and we give place for the work of the Holy Spirit in each and every believer that is fully submitted to Christ. If God does not show favoritism, then neither should we.
Psalms: “Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord. Give praise, you servants of the Lord who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for it is delightful. For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his treasured possession.” (Psalms 135:1-4 CSB)
The descendants of Jacob, the nation of Israel were the people that God chose to carry the revelation of God. They were the blessing that God promised to Abraham that would end up being a blessing to all the nations of the world. Much like the priests were the chosen people to carry the Ark of the Covenant, the nation of Israel were the chosen people, chosen by God, to carry the revelation and blessing of God to the entire world. According to the Bible, when we place our faith in Christ (regardless our ethnicity or nationality), we are grafted in to that same family line… we become fruit-bearing branches that are grafted into the life-giving vine of Christ. We then become part of that chosen people that has been chosen to bring the revelation of God and the reconciliation to God to the rest of the world. As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:9, we (Jew and gentile alike) are now part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Our call is to (like this psalm commands) proclaim the praises of the One who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord. Give praise, you servants of the Lord who abide in Him and have been made a temple of the Holy Spirit. For the Lord is good! What an honor to be one of God’s chosen people.