In Acts Chapter 10 today there is yet another dramatic account of how the message of Christ spread further afield. The Apostle Peter is caught up in a situation he never thought possible; it was that of witnessing to a Roman Centurion and his relatives and close friends.
Peter had to travel to the Centurions’ home in Caesarea. Before he went God gave him a vision which “inwardly perplexed” him [v.17]. There followed a demonstration in a vision – with a meaning that he could not mistake. This caused him to do what he had never imagined himself doing. It was totally against the way the Jews had been trained – and practised their law – to go into the home of a non-Jew.
The Centurion said when Peter entered, “we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded of the Lord. 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.” [v. 33-35] Let us think of fearing God as meaning – being in awe of Him
The core of Peter’s message was to explain the life and teaching of Jesus, “and we are witnesses of all that he did … and he commanded us to preach … that he is the one appointed by God to be the 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.” [10 v.39,42,43] To Peter’s astonishment the Holy Spirit falls on them, so he realizes they must be baptised. Peter now knows beyond any doubt that the message of Jesus, and baptism into his name as a result of expressing that belief, is for all nations.
This commission to be witnesses applies to every believer of every generation. The written word has made all who read and, as a result believe, into disciples of Jesus. When Peter wrote his first epistle he said how believers had been “born again to a living hope” [1 v.3] they were now “a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light’ [2 v.9]. Let us sense this “light” ever more clearly, day after day. Also, as members of God’s “holy nation” “we are witnesses” and must try to share our faith at every opportunity.
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