God and racism
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
You may be familiar with the phrase “get out of your comfort zone.” Have you ever felt extremely uncomfortable regarding something God told you to do? All throughout Scriptures we read stories of people whom God made extremely uncomfortable by something he told them to do. Moses truly did not want to go Egypt; he even asked God to send someone else instead. Gideon did not really want to lead. Jonah did not want to go preach to Nineveh. Perhaps God has called you to go reach out to someone that makes you uneasy. God is always calling people to move out of their comfort zone; in fact, to obey God and follow him is very much to be ready to be uncomfortable in this world. God’s mission in the world for his church is not for the faint of heart. The disciples of Jesus learned this in the first century. When the church was born at the preaching of the apostles; things were going so well, lots of people turning to the Lord. However, the church was Jewish in nature; but God had called his people to represent him in the whole world. Jesus had told his disciples that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. The church had no intention to mobilize when it started, however, God used persecution and opportunities to get the church out of Jerusalem. By chapter 10 in the book of Acts we read how the message of the gospel reached the non-jewish world.
Cornelius from Caesarea (10:1-3)
-devout and God-fearing
-He gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Cornelius vision: (v.3-8)
Peter was staying at Joppa, a town by the Mediterranean Sea, 33 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Peter was staying there at the house of a man known as the tanner.
(vv.9-23) Here Peter also had a vision from God. More of a nightmare for Peter.
Text Acts 10:23-48
Peter went where God sent him, but this journey literally took Peter out of his comfort zone.
Peter entered Cornelius’ house and this centurion fell at the feet of Peter in reverence to him. Peter made him get up “I am also a man myself” (v.26)
Lesson learned by Peter (v.27-29)
-It was against the Jewish law for a Jew to associate with Gentiles (non-Jews) or visit them. Peter was in violation to his own laws as a Jews for coming into the house of a Gentile.
Gentiles were considered impure or unclean by the Jews and coming in contact with them would require the Jewish person to go through all sorts of ceremonial cleansing.
Peter learned from his vision that he should not call anyone impure or unclean.
“God has taught me that should not call any person impure or unclean” v.28
Cornelius response for sending for Peter (v.30-33)
Peter’s lesson: (v.34)
I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism. But accepts people from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
God does not show partiality or prejudice
Every person is created in his image. Jesus broke the walls of prejudice and taught his followers to do the same.
God is calling people from every nation; his mission is universal or global. He is calling people from every nation or ethnicity to be part of his kingdom. God’s mission does not show partiality; Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, all people.
Peter knew this this, but it took for him to be sent to preach to someone with whom he would not normally associate; someone who was totally different from him. Then he finally got it, now I know God does not show partiality, but embraces people from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
Peter preached the gospel to the Gentiles gathered at Cornelius’ house.
He presented Jesus as the resurrected Lord and the one appointed as Judge. This Jesus now offers forgiveness to those who believe in him.
God does not show partiality in giving his Spirit (44-48)
God poured out the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles, just as he did on the Jews during the day of Pentecost. The same Spirit given to the Jews was given to the Gentiles. The Jewish believers were astonished when they saw evidence of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles. God was showing them, that he is truly calling everyone without exception.
Racism has no room in God’s kingdom. His kingdom is remarkably diverse. If God does not show prejudice, then his people should not show it either in their dealing with each other.
Peter had to be made uncomfortable for him to get it; he had to go against his own laws of separation to understand that God’s love has no bounds. He had to go against his own feelings and preferences so he could understand God’s heart for people. God loves everyone and he sent the Savior to save every person.
What is it going to take for you to understand that you cannot claim to love God and show prejudice against your fellow man?
If you are having issues with people based on the color of their skins or their culture then you may as well forget to go to heaven, for heaven will be filled with people from every langue, tribe and nation.
God’s people, church we must show the world what it truly means to be a kingdom person. God’s people have no room in their hearts for racism because God created every race, every nation and he wants them all.
What is it going to take for you to get this?