Topic: Prejudice and Forgiveness
Today’s Scripture: Acts 10:23–28
Key Verse: I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism. – Acts 10:34
Bible in a Year: Psalms 18–19; Acts 20:17–38
INSIGHT: Cornelius was a commander (centurion) of one hundred soldiers stationed at the maritime city of Caesarea Maritima, also the residence of Pilate the governor. Despite the Jews’ hatred of the Roman army, the New Testament presents centurions rather positively (see Luke 7:1–5; 23:47; Acts 23:17–23). Twice, Cornelius is described as a “God-fearing” man (Acts 10:2, 22). A “God-fearer” (13:26; 17:4) was a term used by Jews to describe gentiles who worshiped Israel’s God and followed the ethics of the Old Testament laws, but weren’t full converts to Judaism because they hadn’t been circumcised or didn’t fully subscribe to Judaism’s rituals and traditions. Philip the evangelist had earlier brought the gospel to Caesarea (8:40; 21:8), but now God was beginning a far greater work among the gentiles. Cornelius and those gathered at his house became the first gentile believers to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (10:24, 44–46). Scholars call this episode the “Gentile Pentecost.”
After hearing a message about correcting injustice, a church member approached the pastor weeping, asking for forgiveness and confessing that he hadn’t voted in favor of calling the black minister to be pastor of their church because of his own prejudice.
“I really need you to forgive me. I don’t want the junk of prejudice and racism spilling over into my kids’ lives. I didn’t vote for you, and I was wrong.” His tears and confession were met with the tears and forgiveness of the minister. A week later, the entire church rejoiced upon hearing the man’s testimony of how God had worked in his heart.
Even Peter, a disciple of Jesus and a chief leader in the early church, had to be corrected because of his ill-conceived notions about non-Jewish people. Eating and drinking with gentiles (who were considered unclean), was a violation of social and religious protocol.
Peter said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile” (Acts 10:28). It took nothing less than the supernatural activity of God (vv. 9–23) to convince him that he “should not call anyone impure or unclean” (v. 28).
Through the preaching of Scripture, the conviction of the Spirit, and life experiences, God continues to work in human hearts to correct our misguided perspectives about others. He helps us to see that “God does not show favoritism” (v. 34).
Reflect & Pray
What experiences or people has God used to help you see that He doesn’t show favoritism? What are the things in your life that may have blinded you to His acceptance of all people?
Dear God, search my heart and show me where I need to change.
Our Daily Bread 17th July 2021 Today Devotional Message. Our Daily Bread Ministries (ODB) is a Christian organization founded by Dr. Martin De Haan in 1938. It is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with over 600 employees. It produces several devotional publications, including Our Daily Bread.