Watch out! I am going to ask you a few questions. Are you ready? – What did the first disciples of Jesus do when they were persecuted? – They are leaving Jerusalem! – Do they keep talking about Jesus? Yes! Everywhere they go, they talk to the Jews. Only the Jews? But, this is not exactly what Jesus said. Remember! He has asked that the Gospel should be announced to the Jews but also to all human beings, to all the people. That is very difficult for them. They are Jews and Jews must not enter the house of strangers, nor eat with them. Some foods are forbidden, so the Lord will take action. You are going to see how He helped them but also how He changed things. His interventions are sometimes very surprising. Now, let us listen to the story you can also read in the Book of Acts, chapter 10. And our question: What did Peter understand?
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Full text of this story :
Cornelius, a roman officer, used to live in the city of Caesarea. Although he was not a Jew, he loved God. He used to pray regularly as well as all his family. He was generous. He was often donating to Jews who were poor. One day, around 3 pm, in a vision, he saw an angel of God coming into his home and saying: – Cornelius! – Yes Lord? Replied Cornelius frightened. – Your prayer has been answered, said the angel, your charity has been appreciated by God. Send now some men in the city of Joppa to bring Peter here. He is at a tanner’s house, just by the sea. Cornelius immediately sent two servants and one soldier. The next day, the three messengers arrived in Joppa. Around noon, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He started to be hungry and wanted to eat. While they were setting the meal, he continued to pray and suddenly saw the sky opened with an object similar to a large table sheet that was going down to the earth. Inside were four-legged animals, reptiles and birds, all kinds of animals that the Jews must not eat because they were known to be impure. A voice said: – Peter, get up! Kill and eat! – Oh no! Lord! I can’t do this, that’s impossible! I never ate anything unclean. The voice insisted: – What God has declared pure, do not consider as impure! The vision renewed three times then the tablecloth rose up in the sky: – I don’t understand, said Peter. What does God want to tell me? Meanwhile, the men sent by Cornelius arrived. They were there, in front of the door but Peter was still thinking about the meaning of the vision. The Holy Spirit told him: – Peter, men are asking for you. Get down now and go with them without hesitation! I am the one who brought them here. Immediately, Peter got down. – Here I am! You are looking for me but tell me why you came here for! – We are here on behalf of Cornelius, a roman officer. He is an homan who loves God, and all the Jews speak well of him. An angel of God was asked to make you come to his house to listen to you. Peter let them in, gave them food and welcome them for the night. The next day he left with them and with some disciples of Joppa as well. Cornelius was waiting for them. He invited all his family and his best friends. As soon as he saw Peter, he fell to his feet and bow down. – No! Said Pierre, lifting him up. Get up! I’m just a simple man just like you! While coming into the house, Peter discovered all these people gathered to listen to him. He told them: – If I am standing here, it is because of God. You know it is forbidden for a Jew to be friend with a stranger and to enter his house. But God taught me not to look at any man as an impure. That’s why; I came without hesitating when you called me out. But, why did you make me come? Cornelius told what the angel told him, then he added: – Now that we are all gathered in the presence of God, we are ready to listen to what the Lord has told you to tell us. – I admit, said Peter, that God does not make any difference between the persons. He wants all men to know him and to be saved. He talked to them about the coming of Jesus, the miracles he did. About his arrest, his death, his resurrection, and he added: – We have seen all he has done, we are witnessing; He is the promised savior. Anyone who believes in him receives forgiveness for their sins. Suddenly, as he was speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on Cornelius and his friends. The Jewish disciples who came with Peter were very surprised. – Oh! God is also pouring out his Holy Spirit on them. They are speaking other languages! They are telling the wonders and greatness of God in languages they do not know! All these people, Jews and non-Jews, then began to glorify God together. – Well! Said Peter, since you believe in Jesus and God has filled you with the Holy Spirit; we are going to baptize you in the water as he asked. From that day, Peter and the disciples preached to everyone they met, Jews and non-Jews, and the Gospel continues to spread far and near.
1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! I don’t know who you are, but I do know one thing, it’s that God loves you. Always remember that He does not make any difference between people, races, position in the society, the poor, the rich, healthy people and those who cry and suffer. This is the great truth that Peter understood. God accepts everyone who loves Jesus and believe in him. None difference, none preference! Jesus loves you and wants to bless you!
4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! 4000 years ago, God promised Abraham that He would bless his descendants, the Jews, but also all the families from the earth. This promise came true 2000 years later with the coming of Jesus, His sacrifice and His resurrection. This great blessing is an eternal salvation offered to all men, young and old, to all who believe in him and want to follow him. But, how could people believe if no one tell them? This is our duty, to make this great salvation known by our children, our relatives, but also those who are far away.