Our First Reading this week is Acts 10:44-48.
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
The addition of Gentile (non-Jewish) believers to the early church came as a surprise to many. Jesus often interacted with people who were not of the faith, but to see the Holy Spirit at work in them likely made His followers stop and think.
Peter’s experience with these new followers of Jesus is detailed in Acts 10. In verse 28 he says “and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.” This was a huge change for Jewish believers, to understand that any person who confesses Jesus as Lord is part of His church.
How do we see others who may not share our physical characteristics or heritage? God calls us to treat everyone as His beloved creation no matter what their background or situation. The commandment to love one another doesn’t have any loopholes.
Loving Lord, we are made differently but we are all made in Your image. Help us to see the strength our differences provide for the work of Your kingdom. Amen.