All God’s Bairns
Acts 10: 34
34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality,
The baptism of Cornelius, like the conversion and baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch, is an important event in the history of the Christian faith. The Church was now, early in its story, branching out from its Jewish roots to embrace Gentiles in the fellowship of believers.
Cornelius was a centurion in the Roman army, stationed in Caesarea, the capital of Roman province of Judea. He is depicted in the New Testament as a God-fearing man who prayed and was full of compassion and good works. Was he perhaps the same man who had once come to Jesus to ask for healing for his servant? Jesus said of that man, “Not even in all of Israel have I found someone of such great faith.”
The Romans were a force to be reckoned with. They showed no mercy to any who stood in the way of their empire building. All whom they conquered feared them and had no choice but to pay taxes to their emperor. It should come as no surprise, then, that Peter struggled with the notion of accepting Cornelius into the Christian fold. Could this man, a Roman, be trusted? But God sees into people’s hearts, and led Peter and Cornelius to one another. The rest, as they say, is history.
This event serves as a reminder to us all, even to this day, that God’s ways are not as our ways. If it was left to us to choose who should be called in the service of God’s Kingdom, our human prejudices and partiality might very well get in the way. But it is God who calls, and God is full of surprises. His way is to bring people of all backgrounds together in Christian friendship, and His way is the way of peace.
Good and gracious God,
Teach me to love with heart wide open, embracing all people equally.
Help me to see all people as reflections of You their Creator
and to model your all inclusive love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ.