1,2 “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)
Not everything is as it appears. We can misjudge others and miscategorize ourselves. When we do, it hurts others, handicaps us and offends God.
We must leave enough room in our hearts and minds to get things right. Better eyes and open hearts pave the way.
That is the message of Acts 10, a stunning story of spiritual wins and doors blown wide open. This narrative launched the greatest movement in the history of the world. God called for an end to undue racial and religious profiling, and we all benefited.
Two profiles in particular are highlighted. One is that of a good man named Cornelius. The first two verses of Acts 10 reveal that Cornelius built his life on discipline, responsibility, accomplishment, promotion, generosity, compassion to the needy, and spiritual fitness (he prayed regularly to God).
Does this remind you of you? His profile looked great, immune to scrutiny … except by God.
The Lord helped Cornelius discover that his personal religious profile was surprisingly suspect. The massive social respect, generosity, and even volumes of prayer he offered didn’t create a profile that impressed God.
The Lord helped Cornelius see that even good men (and women) need to be saved. And he was. Read Acts 10, it ends well.
The other profile we see is the Apostle Peter. God showed Pete that his cultural/ethnic/racial profiling was way off. This second “religious” guy had it wrong too. The gospel of Jesus is for all.
God is committed to “every.” The ground around the cross is level. Because God changed a prejudiced profiler, another man and his household were saved. Cornelius became one of the earliest of perhaps billions of Gentiles to come to saving faith in Christ thereafter.
May these stories speak deeply to us and may we help our watching world stop practicing the self-righteousness and racial/ethnic profiling that separate us from God and others.
Reflect: Like Cornelius, are you a good person who needs to be saved? Do the words “every” and “all” truly express your heart for others? Like Peter, are you practicing any racial/ethnic/political profiling that’s gotta go?
A prayer to consider: LORD, put a stop to any personal religious or racial profiling going on in me. I know it is detrimental and wounds Your heart. Keep getting it out of me. My spiritual pride can kill me.
Help me to rest in Your righteousness, given to me in Christ. Righteousness from You, not righteousness for You, is what counts. Keep making “every” and “all” important words to me. I know they are to You. Amen.
P. S. Did you know that Christianity is massively inclusive in its exclusivity, surpassing all other religions? Nothing compares to it’s broad, compassionate invite. Nothing beats the reach of God in Christ!