Forthright Magazine

Will you not tell it today?

“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” (Acts 10:1-2 NIV)

By most people’s standards Cornelius would have been considered a Christian. He was a devout religious man, as was his family. He was generous to the poor around him and prayed regularly. Today he would be considered as a pillar of the community and definitely not someone who needed to hear the message of being saved by Jesus. But this was not the case. Something was missing. And that something was Jesus.

But how was he going to learn about Jesus? God intervened and spoke directly to him, telling him: “Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea” (Acts 10:32). Peter arrived to discover why Cornelius wanted to see him.

Peter began by acknowledging that the good news of Jesus is for everyone and proceeded to tell him and those with him about Jesus.

“You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:36-38)

The message of Jesus is “the good news of peace” and that Jesus is Lord of all. Jesus came to bring peace to the lives of people who are wanting to live for God. When talking about Jesus’ life Peter said that “he went around doing good and healing” – a simple but apt description of the years Jesus spent teaching the people of Galilee and Judea.

The Jews had killed Jesus by executing him on a cross, but God brought him back from the dead. They were witnesses to the fact that Jesus was alive again – and Peter himself was one of the witnesses. Jesus then told those who had seen him – the witnesses – that they needed to tell people the he is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead. All who believe in him would receive forgiveness of their sins (Acts 10:39-43).

‘Belief’ is not a passive action in the Scriptures (“Yeah, I believe that”) but something that prompts action to be taken. The action in this case was to be immersed in water in the name of Jesus the Messiah so their sins could be forgiven (Acts 10:47-48).

Perhaps as we look at society around us, the message that Peter gave to this Roman who had not been brought up worshipping God is also the message that we need to be telling others today. Most people are like this Roman officer: good people but lacking something in their lives, that something being Someone: Jesus.

We need to be telling people that is is through Jesus that we can have peace and that, like Jesus, we need to be going around doing good. We need to tell people that the price for all sin has been paid through Jesus’ death on the cross. But that wasn’t the end of the story: he came back to life and now lives forever, preparing a place for us to be with him for eternity. This same Jesus will be the judge at the end of time. We need to be ready by believing in and obeying him. Like those with Cornelius it is when we are immersed that our sins are forgiven.

Forgiveness can only be found in Jesus. Security and peace are only found in him. This is a message for all ages that all need to hear. “Will you not tell it today?”

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Free for use.

Readings for next week: Acts 8-12


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