“So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him. As for the word that He sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ … They put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree, but God raised Him on the third day and made Him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the One appointed by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His Name.’ While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the Word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?'” (Acts 10:34-36a, 39b-47 ESV)
For many years, I was the first white person the Vietnamese babies in our church had ever met. And when they saw my face, their reaction was pretty much the same every time: first they screwed up their own faces as if to cry. Then they reached out and grabbed my very long nose, and gave it a hearty yank!
We all laughed about it, but it can be scary, going among people different from you. What will they do to you? Are they good or bad? Can you trust them? Are they really people at all?
Peter faced a grown-up version of this problem when the Holy Spirit sent him to visit the Roman soldier Cornelius and his household. Up this point, Peter had been living among Jewish Christians. But now God was planning to bring in a bunch of complete outsiders—to make them sons and daughters of God through faith in Jesus, just as He had done for the Jewish people. How was Peter ever going to convince the folks back home that God really meant it—that the Gentile believers were really and truly Christians just as they were, and not some second-class group of believers?
God took care of it. When Peter told them about Jesus, God provided a mini-Pentecost for these new believers, just like the one the Jewish believers had in the beginning. It didn’t take long before the rest of the young church recognized God’s work: “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18b ESV).
What about you? Surely, there are some people that are foreign to you, too—people who are a different color or speak a different language or follow different customs or eat different food. And you may be nervous about going among them. But God has called them, too, into the kingdom of His Son Jesus. Christ has become their Savior through His death and resurrection, too, just as He is yours. And they need to hear about Him, if they haven’t already.
Prayer: Lord, would You please use me this way, even if I am nervous? Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Do you have friends or relatives who are very different from you?
2. How did you learn to love them?
3. Unless you are Jewish, you owe thanks to a foreign group for bringing you and your people the Gospel. Who?