34 Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. 35 Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 This is the message of peace he sent to the Israelites by proclaiming the good news through Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all!
Acts 10 is the story of how Peter came to know Jesus. I mean, really know Jesus. Of course, Peter had known Jesus before. But in this moment, he finally understood Jesus’ importance. His significance.
It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit sent Peter to preach the gospel to a pious Roman soldier that he finally got it: Jesus is for everybody. Up until then, Peter was operating out of the idea that the good news was only for people like him, that Jesus was a Jewish Savior called to save “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
To Peter, it seemed a complete impossibility that Jesus could also be the Savior for the Romans. After all, they were the ones who killed him! They were the ones who drove the nails, who forced him to carry his cross, who hoisted him up on it. I’m sure Peter was thinking, “Those losers can get their own Savior.” (Actually, I’m certain in Peter’s mind that the language was a whole lot stronger than that – he was a fisherman, after all.)
And that’s when the Spirit stepped in to say something very important: “Actually, Peter, they’ve already got a Savior. Same one as you, as a matter of fact.” That’s how Peter came to preach the gospel to a man named Cornelius, a captain in Rome’s army, along with his entire household.
That’s the moment when Peter understood the truth captured in this scripture: God doesn’t play favorites. Jesus is Lord of all. And whether we like it or not, there’s only one Savior, and he came for everyone – including the people we can’t stand, even the people we look down on, even the people we hate.
Whoever you’re thinking about reading that last line, remember this. They don’t need to get their own Savior. They’ve already got one – the same one as you.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Who are the people you have the hardest time accepting? Do you think of individuals or groups of people? Does it shift your thinking about them at all when you realize there’s only one Savior, and that Jesus died for them too?
Prayer: God of all the nations, you have given us a Savior whose love has broken down every barrier between people. Thank you that your love and grace is for all who seek your face and do your will. Let that same Spirit of generosity rule in our hearts. Amen.