God Loves Everybody

34Then Peter opened his mouth and said, “In truth I’m coming to understand that God doesn’t play favorites, 35but in every nationality the one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming to them the good news of peace through Jesus Christ. It is over all that he [Jesus] is Lord. — Acts 10:34-36

Sometimes we need to be reminded of some very obvious things. It’s very easy in America, with our very personal view of Christianity and what it means to follow Christ, to forget that Jesus isn’t just our personal Lord, but that he is Lord of all.

What do I mean by thinking Jesus is just our personal Lord? Let’s look at where Peter was when all this started. Peter was witness to the life of Jesus. He knew that Jesus had died and risen again. But for Peter, up to this moment, that was all about him and his own people. Jesus was Lord, yes, but he was Lord only over Jewish people. Peter could feel special.

Now this wasn’t really what Judaism taught. The Jewish teachers understood quite well that they had been chosen for a mission, to be God’s servants. But it’s very easy when you’re chosen, to also get the idea that you’re special, and then to go from there to the idea that everyone else is somehow inferior.

Sometimes we read the Bible and we think, “How could those Israelites have been so stupid!” But if we do that, we’re being quite arrogant. There are hundreds of churches right here in America who are living the lives of the special. They are not called to serve; they are called to be special and to maintain themselves. Most of you have probably met some of them.

Peter was kind of feeling that way about himself. He was pretty special, so God had to shake him up a bit. He had a mission for Peter, and hanging around and being special wasn’t how it was going to work. So he let Cornelius, a gentile, know where Peter was, and then he gave Peter a most unsettling vision. Finally, he placed his Holy Spirit on a room full of gentiles. Ouch Peter! That’s getting pulled right out of your comfort zone in a hurry.

So here he is in front of the gentiles, and he tells them what he’s learning right as he speaks. Jesus is not just my Lord, or the Lord of my small group. Jesus is Lord of all. That means that Jesus cares about everyone and wants to reach them.

And that’s a big difference. I’m confident that the readers of this list will find this old stuff. God loves everybody, and we have a mission to share God’s love.

But perhaps every so often we need to be reminded that God is not just our God, but he’s the other person’s God as well. Perhaps that other person doesn’t know, and you’ll have the opportunity to introduce them. What a privilege!

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