By Brooke Holt
“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.” Acts 10:34-35
Partiality: it can be a source of pride or defeat. Think of the story of Joseph. He was the favorite child of Jacob and so highly favored his brothers detested him. They resented their father’s unique love for Joseph. While Joseph was puffed up by his father’s love and attention, his brothers felt dismissed and devalued. The extreme intensity of this dynamic led his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery and then fake his death before Jacob.
For many years, the Jewish people felt confident that God showed partiality to them. He chose them as his people and set them apart from the other nations through his covenants with them. While the Jews did not always honor God, they prided themselves on being his beloved people. Peter as one of these beloved Jewish people. Yet God challenged that pride, and Peter received a divine revelation: God loved the Gentiles and wanted a relationship with them as well as with the Jews.
Not only did God love them, but he wanted Peter to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to these Gentiles, beginning with a centurion in Caesarea. Cornelius, the centurion, was “a devout man who feared God with all his household” (Acts 10:2). While Cornelius was praying one day, he received his own divine vision in which an angel directed him to call for Peter. Cornelius did not question or delay, but immediately sent men to Joppa to find Peter and bring him.
Meanwhile, Peter sat on the rooftop eagerly awaiting a meal when he fell into a trance, saw a vision and heard the voice of God. Immediately, men came to the house looking for Peter, and the Spirit clearly directed Peter to go minster to Cornelius and his household.
Upon arriving in Caesarea, Peter had quite an audience awaiting him. These words about God not showing partiality were for those gathered and for Peter. Through Jesus, divisions were coming to an end as Jesus wanted all people to hear his Gospel message. He wanted his followers to invite all into a relationship with him. They were all his favorites!
Both Peter and the audience in Cornelius’ home found this truth earth-shattering. It remains an earth-shattering truth today. You are God’s favorite, as is the person who sits behind you at church or beside you. God shows no partiality. He sees beyond nationality, skin color, religious upbringing, education, and social status.
What about you? Are you ready to relinquish pride or defeat and receive the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? He died and rose again that you may live in relationship to him. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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