category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 10

Tuesday, December 12

Isaiah 4:2-6; Acts 11:1-18

It takes a lot of boldness to condone the casting out of a people-group based on differences such as ethnicity, religious views, or even belief systems, but it takes an even greater degree of faith and tenacity to stand up for this people-group and share the good news of Jesus with them. Even when it means going against societal norms, will you share our Heavenly Father, or will you keep His goodness to yourself?

I can remember a day, over 25 years ago, when I decided to push back against a group of students that wanted to reject a peer socially who had a physical deformity. A genetic defect resulted in her only having half of her fingers on her right hand, which meant that to the standard, first-grade eye, she was not normal. Ridicule, rejection, and shame ensued, and I sat quietly, hoping not to be labeled a part of the “mean kid” club. Little did I know that my silence would do just as much harm as falling in line with the belittling antics of the other kids. Defying all “mean kid” norms, I packed up my things, marched to the end of the lunchroom table, and ate the rest of my lunch with the kid that had been ousted for weeks.

It is safe to say, looking back over 25 years ago, I had somewhat of a Peter experience, an experience in which I was willing to endure criticism for the sake of Christ. In order for the gospel to move, we must look past traditions, race, deformities, culture, etc. The Jewish Christians of Peter’s day could not fully comprehend that salvation was not reserved for only Jews; yet our dear friend Peter understood that he didn’t have the power or authority to stand in the way of the Gentiles receiving the free gift of salvation.

So, what happened to rouse the attention of the uncircumcised believers mentioned in verse 2 of this text?

In Acts 10, Peter has arrived in Caesarea at Cornelius’ home, Cornelius the gentile Roman Centurion. Recall that there was much division among the Jews and Gentiles during this time, so a Jew showing up at the doorstep of a Gentile was not an acceptable norm within Jewish culture, much less actually taking a seat and sharing a meal with them. The scenes in Acts 11 serve as the aftermath of Peter’s interactions with non-Jews at Cornelius’ home.

We need the courage not to keep Jesus to ourselves. This is the kind of courage that Peter had and the kind that we as a body of believers must have as we continue to fulfill the Great Commission. Ethnic and societal barriers began breaking as soon as Peter sat down to commune with the Gentiles, who just so happened to be God’s children too. This season I encourage you to be bold and courageous as you share the good news of Jesus and proclaim His good works. Besides, who are we to hinder God?

Jalisa Kale
School of Divinity Graduate

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 9

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 11

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