The apostle Peter and friends have traveled up the coast from Joppa to Caesarea to meet with Cornelius and all his family and friends who have gathered in Cornelius’ home. Peter acknowledges the uniqueness of the situation that he a Jew is going into a Gentile home and breaking tradition. Peter goes on to say,
“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who f ears him and does what is right.”
Peter continues giving a brief summary of who Jesus is , ending with the resurrection and that Jesus will be the one to “judge the living and the dead.” The Holy Spirit astonishes everyone present by giving the gift of tongues, just like Pentecost to Gentiles who are not circumcised! These new believers are then baptized but something astronomical has happened.
I think it was about my fortieth birthday and I was in Kenya. I got up and went to wash my face and held up the face cloth. The whole center of the cloth was worn out and just the square fringe hung in my fingers. I lamented. Surely the God of the universe could provide me, someone trying so hard to “be good,” with a facecloth. It was a silly woe-is-me moment but revealed my sense of entitlement. I went about my day. At lunch we ate on the porch and I came inside for something. On the dining room table was a big box as someone had gone to the post office. Inside was a set of towels for everyone in our family, complete with towel and face cloth! I suddenly realized! The issue was not the face cloth. This experience spoke to me of a God that was so much bigger and caring than I had realized. I had been feeling so self centered but somehow God had been working outside the box to make all the events of the day come together. Peter suddenly realized. What? God was bigger than the boxes he had put God in and was working in ways to God’s glory. The story of faith is bigger than me.
Perhaps you have had an experience that made you suddenly “realize” and experience God in a more profound way. God is working in the Corneliuses, the Sauls and all those in the net of those relationships. Thank you Lord that you are active far above my ability to anticipate.