Sunday 4th July 2021

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Last week we started to look at another incident in the life of Simon-Peter, who was originally a fisherman, before answering Jesus’ call to ‘follow him’ and became known as one of the 12 disciples. In May we look at a sermon he preached just 10 days after Jesus had ascended back to the presence of Father God. The event we started to look at last week occurs perhaps 10 years later.

Last week we saw God preparing Simon-Peter for events which were going to transform his understanding of who God is, and what Jesus’ death accomplished. God gives him a vision, which connected with some Old Testament scripture he would have been familiar with, and eventually began to understand that he was being prepared to be hospitable to some non-Jews (Gentiles) who wanted him to go with them to the home of a Roman Centurion, Cornelius.

Other Jews would criticise Simon-Peter for going into the home of a Gentile - even Jews who had put their faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord would find it strange that Simon-Peter could accept the hospitality of a Roman Centurion, but God had prepared him to accept this invitation. These visitors had come because an angel had appeared to Centurion Cornelius and told him to send for a man called Simon-Peter living 30 miles away in the home of Simon the tanner.  

We pick up events once Simon-Peter has arrived at the home of Cornelius and he and his friends eagerly want to hear the message God has given to Simon-Peter. Read: Acts 10: 34-48

Simon-Peter preaches a message which echoes the one he preached on the day of Pentecost: he explains that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s anointed one – the Messiah, the Christ - and Christ has died for our sins.

What happened next is similar to what happened on the day of Pentecost, both Simon-Peter and the Jews who were with him heard these non-Jews praising God in the similar way to how they had at Pentecost. Similar but not identical, this time there is no mention of a wind or flames of fire, but the way in which they started to praise God was similar enough for those who were with Simon-Peter to recognise that God had indeed poured out his Holy Spirit on all who call on the name of the Lord - they had previously thought that God had only poured out his Spirit on Jews who had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ. Simon-Peter welcomes these believers into the church family by baptising them in the name of Jesus Christ.

Simon-Peter recognises the greatness of who God is – that God’s love is limitless and his mercy and grace reaches out to all of mankind. Simon-Peter becomes the advocate for getting the other Jewish believers to recognise that God’s salvation isn’t only for Jews but for everyone - that God love isn’t limited to Israel but to all humanity.

During their time together Jesus had given Simon the nick-name ‘Rocky’ - Cephas - Petros – Peter. Read: Matthew 16: 13-19a

Jesus is saying that Simon-Peter would unlock the kingdom through the message he shared so that anyone who made the same declaration he did, that ‘Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God’ could be assured that they too were part of God’s kingdom and know that God’s love, grace, mercy extends to everyone who call on the name of the Christ, the Son of the Living God. God then gives a guarantee that he will fulfil his promises by pouring out the ever-present help of his Holy Spirit.

Below is a summary of the Good News we have through faith in Jesus Christ. Use these lyrics to lead you into a time of thanking God for your salvation:

To God be the glory! Great things He has done; so loved He the world that He gave us His Son;

who yielded His life an atonement for sin, and opened the life gate that all may go in.

 

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood! to every believer the promise of God;

the vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Frances van Alstyne (Fanny J Crosby) 1820-1915


Page last updated: 11th July 2021 6:27 AM