Daily Readings & Thought for May 2nd. “NOT TO ALL THE PEOPLE”
These days so many strive to convince themselves there is no God. We pondered the fact that God does not make it abundantly evident that he exists. If he did there would be no need for faith, no need to search out what is the real cause of human existence. These thoughts arose as we read of the conversion of Cornelius, the Roman Centurion, in Acts ch. 10, a man whose prayers show he was genuinely seeking to have a relationship with God.
First, Peter had to learn that the hope of salvation was no longer primarily for the Jews; the death and resurrection of Jesus had changed that. One of the reasons for the conversion of Saul/Paul we read about yesterday, was that the time soon came when Jesus said to him, “Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” [ch.22 v,21]
As Peter starts to talk to Cornelius and the Gentiles (non-Jews) with him, he first states that God has shown him that he is no longer to think that any person, apart from a Jew “as common or unclean” [10 v.28]. He says his hearers are aware how Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed … for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree” [v.38,39] Peter is stating widely known facts.
What happened after that was not so publicly known – that “God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”[v.41,42] Because Cornelius was such a God fearing man, his remarkable conversion and baptism is a lesson as to the kind of people Jesus, now at the ‘right hand of God’ (Acts 2 v.33), is calling to his service.
The challenging principles Jesus stated still apply, “ Many are called but few are chosen” [Matt.22 v.14] and Cornelius was among the chosen. This causes us to contemplate what really matters in the sight of God as to the basic factors which will lead to one being among the chosen. For this reason we are wise to read and reflect on his word every day and make every effort to put into practice the principles we find there.. More than this, to reflect on another saying of Jesus, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him (or her) much will be required …” [Luke 12 v.48]