PETER GOT IT!
"Peter fairly exploded with his good news. ‘It's God's own truth, nothing could be plainer. God plays no favourites! It makes no difference who you are or where you're from -- if you want God and are ready to do as He says, the door is open. The Message He sent to the children of Israel -- that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again -- well, He's doing it everywhere among everyone.'" Acts 10:34-36 (The Message).
A light bulb moment for Peter! It had taken years for him to reach this moment of revelation -- and he exploded with excitement. He fairly burst with the realisation that this was what the good news of Jesus was all about. The entire story of his people was about this moment when the light of God's truth would break through the barriers of racial prejudice and religious bigotry and engulf the Gentile world with its message of love and liberty.
Peter, and all those he represented in the kingdom of God, did not have to hate any more. He could throw off his religious rags and embrace people of every nation because God gave His Son for the whole world. Food taboos and religious rituals did not count any more. What Jesus came to do was much bigger than petty scruples and irrelevant externals. The very people he had so hoped Jesus would evict from his country were eligible to share in the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit that he had experienced through God's unconditional love and grace.
For the first time in his life, Peter fully embraced the truth that Jesus was the Saviour of the world. The confession he had so glibly made at Caesarea Philippi, at that point in his understanding accurate yet misunderstood, glowed with new meaning: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' At last the message he had to deliver was cosmic in his understanding and in its application.
Peter recognised an even greater significance in the life of his Master than he had seen before. This salvation was much more than a personal and individual thing. What Jesus did on the cross had ramifications for the whole creation. This was about reconciling and restoring everything to God, including the natural world which was included in the consequences of Adam's rebellion.
Jesus did not come to make us comfortable. He came to put God's cosmic programme back on track.
"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross." Colossians 1:17-20 (NIV).
Every dysfunctional thing was being restored through the death of Jesus and Cornelius and his associates were part of that new life. Peter would not only be able to share the story of Jesus with this group of people with new understanding but he would also take the same fleshed-out message to the rest of the world.
This is the miracle of walking with Jesus through His Spirit. It is a journey from ignorance to understanding; from the darkness of selfishness and greed to the light of generous love for all people; and from slavery to freedom. It's a step-by-step moving towards shalom, wholeness and peace.
Religion can never do what Jesus does when He is given access to the very core of our lives. We are swept up into God's plan of universal restoration and become an integral part of a new order of justice, righteousness and peace which will be perfected and completed when Jesus returns.
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