Job 17-19 Acts 10:1-23
“Cornelius stared at the angel. He became afraid and said, ‘What do you want, Lord?’ The angel said, ‘God has heard your prayers. He has seen that you give to the poor, and he remembers you. Send some men now to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is also called Peter. He is staying with a man, also named Simon, who is a tanner and has a house beside the sea.’” (Acts 10:4-6 NCV)
The gospel had spread throughout Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and the Church had peace. There was one more continuing mission, though: every part of the world. To spread the gospel to every part of the world, Christians would need to reach out to gentiles. God chose Cornelius to be that first gentile because he was respected and had a heart for God. He worshiped the true God. His heart was changed so much that he gave a lot of money to the poor. God sent an angel to speak to Cornelius so that he would send for Peter. God prepared Peter for this groundbreaking, world-changing mission with an amazing vision and so, Peter went to Caesarea with Cornelius’s servants not fully understanding what God wanted, but knowing he was obeying God.
Every part of the earth. The ends of the earth. The uttermost parts of the earth. All those are different ways of translating the message Jesus gave just before He ascended. That is where we’re to go to spread the gospel. Paul would describe the compulsion he had to preach in Romans 1 by noting that he was a debtor to the Greeks and the barbarians. His debt could only be paid off by preaching the good news of Jesus. Why did he owe them the gospel? I believe he owed them the gospel for the same reason that we owe others the gospel today. Our sin debt was paid at the cross and we received God’s grace freely. God prepared the way for us to come to know and fellowship with Him. The debt we owe is really to God, and He wants us to “pay” that debt by sharing His love, forgiveness and grace with a world that needs to know Him. We are blessed by God so that we can share those blessings with people in need. It doesn’t matter whether the need is physical or spiritual: the attitude is the same. Cornelius didn’t give money to the poor so that God would like him; he gave money to the poor because God had already changed his heart. Peter came out of obedience to Christ not realizing that he would be opening the door to the evangelization of gentiles all over the world…to the ends of the earth. All God wants from us is a changed heart and an obedient spirit. If our hearts are changed and our spirits are obedient, God will use us to change the world. Are you ready to pay your debt?
Lord, remind me that I’m called to share Your love and grace with others because You gave it to me in the first place. Because I’ve been called by You, I owe Your love and grace to other people – wherever they may be. For this cause, I’ll never be debt-free. You’ll keep on giving to me, and calling on me to share Your love.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved