by James Greene
In this 5th Sunday of Easter we continued to be called to celebrate Christ’s rising from the dead. He has shown us The Way to the Father, and the love of the Father, for all people, this is through Jesus, who is The Way, and The Truth, and The Life that this love is demonstrated.
In our reading from Acts,
we see Peter going up to
Cornelius is a significant name for
me. My mother’s family name was Doremus, and members of the Dutch
Reformed Church. Cornelius Doremus came to
In a brief review, Cornelius
is a soldier. He is a Centurion in the Roman army. He and
his house are known as God
fearers. These are gentiles who believe in, and worships the God of
Peter has responded to the call of the Holy Spirit to go with
the men that Cornelius has
sent to bring him to
In the middle of Peter's presentation of the Gospel and witness to the resurrection of Jesus - The Holy Spirit is poured out on all the household hearing the Gospel. They began praising God and speak in tongues. These are gentiles. The Jews who had come with Peter were amazed to see the Spirit being poured out upon gentiles. Peter then orders them to bring water that they may be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
It is here, we see God's Spirit (God’s essence) poured out and claiming gentiles in
The idea of Spirit – the West Messa across
Just as we can see the effect of God’s love in the lives of people around us, but we do not hear it or feel it until it comes upon us and impacts our lives. This is the essence and reality of what is being described in the text, with The Spirit being poured out on the people.
It reveals God's intent to overcome traditional views and customs, and to save not just the Chosen People but also, all people. The intimacy of eating a meal with unclean and uncircumcised Gentiles was culturally taboo. This is world changing in its impact upon the society of the first century. Here Gentiles are now allowed on the same level, and are considered as a part of the People of God.
Here also, there is no restrictions, no law forbidding the food that could be eaten. Peter is told 3 times not to call anything impure that God has made clean. Just as the significance of the phrase Holy, Holy, Holy is reserved for God. The repeating of the instructions 3 times is to signify that the command is from God. This includes relationships with Gentiles outside of Jewdism. Now both Jew and Gentile are considered the same in relationship. They are part of God’s creation and God’s people.
This is the point on the tree where the Gentiles are grafted into the Promise of God.
The Promise fulfilled among the Jews at Pentecost, has now become the Promise fulfilled among the Gentiles. This is the Gentile Pentecost.
Finally, Peter gives the argument that if God gave the Gentiles the same gift as he gave the Jews, who believe on Jesus, then “Who was I to oppose God?” This reveals not only, how all people were accepted by God, but also God’s love for all people; that we as followers of the Christ, should also care for and love each other and all people.
148 is the theme of offering praise
to the Lord God. It is God’s praise and God’s commanding of all nature
and all creation to be brought
into being. It is all
people and all creation
that praise the Lord.
In V:14 God has ‘raise up
for his people a “horn”’ –an
anointed leader – King David, and the son of David – Jesus that “all of his saints, all of
In the New
Testament Book of Revelation, we see a vision of
the future. It is God’s plan for us. It is a loving God coming to dwell in the midst of His
people, and the relationship of all
people and all creation with the God of the universe. It is also a restatement of Isaiah 65:17-19, with the new heaven
and the new earth and a created
It is God making “everything new”. Like Peter’s encounter with Cornelius’s household, and the Gentiles becoming a part of God’s people, there is a newness in the way we all will see things. All people will come to know God’s standard, and our relationships will reflect the love of God toward one another that is accomplished in God’s time.
In the reading from John we see Jesus describing how God
and the Son of Man will be glorified. He gives a new command to the apostles to “love one another”. This is about bringing in The
In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible written from 1706-1721, he summarizes and brings to light the love and leadership of Jesus.He spoke kindly to them. He was truly concerned for them and their welfare. He instructed them. He counseled them. He comforted them. He prayed with them and for them. He justified them. He took their burden when they were run down. They were dearer to him than his mother, his brothers, and his sisters. He brought out the best in them. He forgave them for abandoning him in his time of trial. He was their servant leader when he washed their feet. It was the way he loved them, that he calls them to do the same when they “love one another.”
In the Old Testament there are many names for God - Elohim, El Shaddai, Ancient of Days, and the Hebrew word 'Love'. The explanation I have heard is that the most important name of God in the Hebrew tradition is the one for 'Love'. Because God, in being love, is so intense that no one could stand in His presence, because it would consume them, because, it is that intense, and that pure. This love is the integrity of His righteousness. It is this love and this righteousness, that He brings to all people.
So, for us to return love to God is the most important thing we can do, as a Child of God, because he requires all of our heart, soul, and strength. If we focus with that intensity, we understand just a little of what it is to be one of God's people, and a part of God's creation, like Cornelius. It also reveals to us through the Holy Spirit, and the Word, the wisdom of that focus, and what should be the spirit and the heart of our intent towards all people. (our neighbor) This is the standard that Christ has shown us: it will be reflected in how we cared for one another and cared for the stranger in our community. This Agape love is the fundamental element of what it is to be a follower of the Christ, and to be in community with each other.
There is a marque that
a veterinary clinic in
In the end
it is a matter of the heart. God requires
that we love
another, this is the standard of what it is to be a Child of God; that we live in
relationship to each other in community in a loving way, because in doing that, we reflect what it is like to
be in The
So the greatest commandments - are that we do God's Will - by doing God's commands to love Him with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and that in loving each other, we fulfill the rest of God's will. We must believe on his son Jesus the Christ, and obey his command to remain in His love, that we might remain in the Father. Love is the key element that we must give to our God, and to each other in and through His Will. It is in loving that we lift up our soul and our spirit- to have faith in God's Spirit, and The Christ, that fulfills our purpose, in this world and the next.
In the Name of … the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen