Beliefnet
Jesus Creed

ApPeter.jpgThe following words of Peter are boundary-breaking theology, and as we have said a number of times, we are using Beverly Gaventa’s fine commentary on Acts for our conversation partner (The Acts of the Apostles (Abingdon New Testament Commentaries)
).

10:34 Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, 10:35 but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him. 10:36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all) – 10:37 you know what happened throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 10:38 with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him. 10:39We are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 10:40 but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, 10:41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 10:42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to warn them that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. 10:43 About him all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

For Peter to enter into the world of Gentile fellowship and mission, he needs to hear from God. Which he did. Now he explains to the Gentile audience the revelation:

I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him.

There is an inclusivism at work in these lines, and it shows that God speaks to those who fear God and who do what is right. There are no comments here about how such persons have heard or how they have learned to fear God or do what is right. What there is, however, is clear: a broadness in God’s mercy and a preemptive strike of grace. The so-called Israel privilege has been leveled (not eliminated): all are now on the same level as Israelites and now all can hear the oracles of God.


Furthermore, Peter’s gospel is about “peace” — and this might well mean peace between a human and God as well as between Jews and Gentiles.

Missional work recognizes the work of God in all places and it honors God’s mercy.



Previous Posts
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus