“Good News For All Nations!”(Acts 11:1-18).
Prof Lamin O. Sanneh(late) enlarges our understanding that when the gospel crossed into the Gentile world it helped to relativize the Jewish culture and destigmatize Gentile cultures.
Reading, and studying may still not lead to understanding. Otherwise the Jews who accused Peter for having gone into the homes of Gentiles would have known better. The LORD had said, “At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honour the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts”(Jer.3:17).
The time of Christ is the fulfilment of that time spoken of in Jeremiah.
The LORD had decided with the coming of Christ that all nations will not only gather in Jerusalem to honour the name of the LORD, but rather that Christ will commission his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations…”(Mt.28:19-20).
Christ is for all nations and all peoples every where. God in Christ Jesus takes us as we are with all our disrelations(Indigenizing principle), but he takes as as we are to make us what we ought to become(the Pilgrim principle).
These two principles are in constant but unnecessary tension.
Early circumcised Jews did not subscribe to this truth. No doubt they criticized Peter and said,“You went into the house of uncircumcized men and ate with them.”
Peter had to explain to them how he once reasoned like them until the LORD converted him when in a vision he told him,“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Peter had obeyed the LORD and went to the home of Cornelius. When he spoke to Cornelius’ household, “the Holy Spirit came on them” just they way it had come on the apostles. At that moment Peter remembered what the Lord had said,“John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Peter concluded,“So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?”
Peter’s conclusion must become ours. If God has given to others the same gift he has given to us, who are we to think that we can oppose God?
My friend, our duty is to gather in the harvest – including the wheat and the weed. Only God himself will do the selection by gathering the weeds for burning, while preserving the wheat.
The people of the world are like trees in a vast forest. We may despise some tree species and may even hate to see some species. But God who created them, created them for endearing purposes.
Let us not discriminate. The gospel has broken down all cultural barriers and we do not have to think that it is “we and them!” God is interested in all repented sinners from wherever! Let our cultural differences not be a hindrance to the salvation of others.
Sunday prayer: LORD we give you all the glory that in Jesus Christ you have given the Holy Spirit to others as well. Amen!
Have a blessed Sunday! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.