Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,Acts 10:34(NASB)
The disciples and apostles of Christ had to travel a very steep learning curve over a space of a few short years. As Jews they knew they were a privileged race, for they had become the one and only nation with whom God had made a covenant - they were His people and He was their God. And although they knew a promised Deliverer was being sent to save them - they only had temporal rescue from an earthly overlord in view, rather than the more expansive, all-inclusive and eternal release from captivity to sin, Satan, death, the Law and self.
One of their major shocks was to discover that their long awaited Deliverer would not defeat the Romans oppression, with swords and staves and horses, but would be arrested and ridiculed.. scorned, beaten and condemned, by unjust men - and would die a cruel death on a Roman cross. The resurrection of our Lord was a further astonishment.. despite the many prophetic voices of Israel's past prophets - and Christ's own repetitive warnings of His forthcoming betrayal, passion, death and resurrection.
The permanently, indwelling Holy Spirit, Who would Himself baptise all believers into the Body of Christ at salvation, was a further staggering truth the early church would have to learn, but so too was the unprecedented realisation that Gentile believers in Christ were equally accepted by God as Jewish believers in Christ.
That Gentiles were also given the indwelling Holy Spirit by faith in Christ, was the first step towards a fuller understanding that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither male not female, neither bond nor free, neither old nor young, neither black nor white - but that we are all one in Christ and accepted in the Beloved - lest anyone should boast.
And so following a season when the good news of Christ was limited to an audience of the men of Israel and Jewish proselytes, it came to pass that Peter and the rest of those early Church-age believers, (all of whom were Jewish) were astonished to discover that God has no favourites.
Peter was one who witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit falling on a group of despised, inferior gentile 'dogs', simply because they believed in their heart.. that Jesus Christ died on a cross for their sins.. and rose again the third day - and that through His name everyone who believes in Him would receive forgiveness of sins, life everlasting and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Peter was one who had to set aside his former prejudice against the despised gentiles, as He shared the gospel to Roman believers. It was a very steep learning curve for Peter and the early Jewish church to accept that there is no partiality with God.. but when the Holy Spirit fell in great power upon all those who were listening to the message of Salvation at the house of Cornelius, Peter was able to open his mouth and proclaim with confidence and conviction: I most certainly understand now.. that God is not One to show partiality.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your people Israel through whom the Messiah was born and thank You that there is no partiality with God and that all sinners may be saved by grace through faith in Christ. Thank You for my own salvation and I pray that as we wait for the any day return of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds, that many more Jews and Gentiles, men and women, bond and free, old and young, black and white people from every race and nation may come to faith in Christ, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting - in Jesus name. AMEN.
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