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Acts 10:23b-33, Peter and Cornelius

Saturday, April 21

First Impressions

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

patience and understanding

This might not have been one of Peter's finest moments in his post-Christ ministry. He traveled to Cornelius' home because God had directed him to do so, and because Cornelius had requested that he come. Upon arrival, he essentially told them, "Hey, even though you're unclean, God told me to come, so I came. What do you want?" Thankfully, Cornelius took no offense at his rudeness, and shared his own story of how God had sent him a vision of Peter. Because of their exchange, Peter had the opportunity to preach about Jesus and begin the ministry to gentiles that would help spread Christianity throughout the world. 

I think sometimes we miss opportunities because we get hung up on the words, attitudes, or body language of others. We decide whether or not we like them before we even speak. And then, if their words or attitudes rub us the wrong way, we shut them off before any meaningful conversation can take place. Our patience runs thin for people who rub us wrong.

But what if we approached the conversation with openness and patience? What if we assumed that everyone we encounter is 1) doing the best they can, 2) might be in a mood over something that has nothing to do with us, 3) might just be the way they come across, but inside there's really quite a lot more to them, and 4) in need of love and positivity? What if we turned off our judgment and opened ourselves to receiving whatever they give? We might learn that our first impressions are wrong, or that there is much more to receive despite our first impressions. These might become some of the most meaningful exchanges we have. Do we really want to limit what we might receive from them, or them from us?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 10:23b-33

The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him. The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshiped him. But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?” Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. He said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.”

Earlier Event: April 20
Acts 10:17-23a, Peter and Cornelius
Later Event: April 22
Acts 16:16-34, Paul and Silas