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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
January 8, 2011

[NOTE: This message was originally published January 12, 2002.]
Peter fairly exploded with his good news: "It's God's own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you're from if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open."
Acts 10:34-35 (Message*)

In the church calendar, this is the season of Epiphany. An epiphany is a sudden realization of the essence of meaning of something. In this passage, Peter has an epiphany.

It had apparently not dawned on Peter before that Jews and Gentiles are on the same footing before God. Through visions which appear to the gentile Cornelius and to Peter, God brings these two together in a way which allows Peter to have this epiphany. It is clear this point is very important to God.

It is a revolutionary message that people from all nations and cultures, and in all conditions, are on an equal plane before God. The message goes far beyond the particular struggle of the early Christians to understand the equality of Jews and Gentiles. It speaks to whatever factors, other than openness and faithfulness to God, we use to distinguish between people and judge their relative worth. These could be cultural factors, educational factors, lifestyle factors, economic factors, anything.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will probably find that there are factors we use to view some people in an inferior light. God worked with Peter to get him beyond the factor that particularly hung him up and limited his usefulness in God's service. If we are open, God is willing to work with us to transcend our own hang ups about particular categories of people so we, too, can be more useful in God's service.

Each time we see someone and find ourselves prone to put them down based on some external factor, we need to stop and think. How does God see this person? Let us each pray that our eyes be opened so that we see each person as God sees them.

Bill Samuel

* The Message version © by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2002, 2011 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 22-Jan-2011 21:47:12 EST