Today’s readings… Deuteronomy 19, Ecclesiastes 11, Acts 10
Today we read of the perplexity of the Apostle Peter when he has a vision, while sleeping, of a great sheet lowered from heaven which contained a lot of animals that were unclean under the Law of Moses and therefore should not be killed for food. He is told to “kill and eat” and he refuses, but a voice says, “What God has made clean, do not call common” [Acts 10 v.13,15]
This happened 3 times and Peter is perplexed as the sheet is removed, but at that moment messengers arrive from the Roman Centurion Cornelius and ask Peter to come with them. He now perceives the meaning of the vision, he is to go and preach the message about Jesus to non-Jews. When he arrives he says to Cornelius, who has also gathered relatives and friends, that he now realises it is God’s will that “in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ …” [v.35,36]
Only the message of Jesus Christ is the message of peace; it alone offers peace of mind in a world of turmoil. Peace of mind because it creates a relationship with God as Paul told the Philippians, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [4 v.7]
Peter went on to say to his unexpected audience that Jesus “commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” [v.42] The time when he returns to judge by raising the dead who have accepted his name, or had faith in God as illustrated in the Old Testament, or heard him preaching, like the Pharisees did: this time cannot be too far in the future in this world of hopeless disarray – which significantly includes the unsolvable frictions among the nations surrounding and in the Holy Land about which there are many prophecies.
At that time, not only will there be peace of mind in the hearts of true believers, but peace will spread throughout all the earth. Our chapter concludes with Peter commanding “them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.” [v,48] This command applies just as much today.