Bible Society of South Africa

Irrespective of persons - 28 May 2024

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

Peter's Speech

34Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis.

Acts 10:34GNBOpen in Bible reader

The spreading of the church of Jesus was completed in three phases. That was how Jesus told his disciples, at the ascension, to roll it out. First Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth. If the believers found it difficult to reach out to the Samaritans, the idea to go into the house of a heathen was an unsurmountable stumbling block, but when the Spirit took over, nothing was impossible.

It started with Philip, who preached the gospel in Samaria and even joined an Ethiopian on his wagon. The next on the list of the Spirit was the leader of the church himself, Peter – the man on whose confession the church was built, but also the Peter who was still a true to type Jew, who still believed in the religious laws about food and ritual cleanliness.

One day, without knowing that people from Cornelius (a captain in the Roman army) were on the way to see him, Peter went up onto the roof of the house to pray. There, he had a vision of something like a large sheet coming down from heaven. It was full of all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds. Then he heard a voice saying to him: “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!” Peter’s reaction was immediate: “Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled.” (Acts 10:14) His objection was not upheld, for the voice came again: “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.” (Acts 10:15b) This happened three times. We know the rest of the story.

The same Peter who made the declaration about Jesus as the Christ now made another declaration that was to be of utmost importance for the church through the ages: “I now realise that God treats everyone on the same basis. Those who worship him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to.” (Acts 10:34-35)

Yesterday, we asked the question about what we are going to do to make a difference in our country after the election. Let us take great pains to be acceptable to each other, as we are acceptable to God.

Prayer: Father, it is such a joy to know that you do not mind who I am, how I look or what language I speak. Thank you, Lord, that you have also declared me clean. We pray that the election will go ahead peacefully tomorrow. Amen

 

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