Acts 10: 34-48: A divinely interrupted sermon.

34 Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 ‘We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us 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 whom God appointed 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.’ 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[a] and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 ‘Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptised with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ 48 So he ordered that they be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

The key learning for Peter was that God will accept Gentiles as well as Jews (34,35). That’s the essential message here, and we have walked through the process of a dawning new understanding with the apostle in recent days. It’s not about people earning God’s approval by their goodness. They must come ‘’through Jesus Christ’’ (36; and see also 43) as Peter goes on to assert; and He is ‘’Lord of all’’ (underlining mine). He is not just Lord of the Jews; He can also be the Lord of Gentile people. This was the fresh conviction that carried him to Cornelius’ door. In speaking to these Gentiles, Peter could refer to their prior knowledge of certain things: ‘’You know…You know…’’ (36, 37). Nevertheless, he recapitulated the glorious, the thrilling essential facts of the gospel (37-43). He was an eye-witness of these matters (39), as were others, and ‘’commanded…to preach…’’ (39, 42). It is significant that the apostles ‘’ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead’’ (41b). It shows that although Jesus was different in His resurrection state, He was no ghost. He was still human (Luke 24:41, 42).

When the church receives the same anointing that Jesus received, we can do the works He did, and greater ones (in quantity). May the world be able to see that God is with us. Speaking personally, I would love to have the Holy Ghost interrupt my preaching again and again (44). The reception of the Spirit was all the evidence needed that these Gentile people had truly repented and believed.

Thought: ‘I read in a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It is very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about.’ Toyohiko Kagawa