In Acts 10 we have the account of Peter sharing the gospel of Jesus with Cornelius. Now, when I hear the name “Cornelius” I typically go to the character from the movie, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, but that’s not the Cornelius mentioned here. Cornelius was not Jewish. He was a Gentile. There was extreme racism between the Jewish and Gentile people, from both sides. This issue affected followers of Jesus as well but needed to be addressed because the gospel was always intended to be the way to salvation for all people, regardless of their ethnicity. However, man had messed this up. There were laws and restrictions that separated the Jews from the Gentiles. God gives Peter a vision to reinforce God’s call in Peter’s life to share the gospel with Cornelius Here is how Peter puts it: “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” It wasn’t unlawful from God’s perspective for a Jewish man to keep company with a Gentile..that was a law made by man. God has always operated under the idea of “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight”, but man attempted to use God’s words to justify his own racist thoughts. Tragically, this has continued. One of the most horrific examples in our nation’s history was the absurd use of Bible verses to justify slavery and the superiority of the white race over the black one. If only those preachers and others had read chapter 10 of Acts!…and many other verses as well.
There is no room for racism in the mind and heart of the Jesus follower. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All can be saved from sin through Jesus. The very idea of creation removes any intrinsic superiority of race. If we all came from Adam and Eve, how can one race of people be superior to another? It makes no common sense. Though we have different biological makeups, there is no intrinsic difference between people that should lead to racism. Peter learned this lesson and serves as an example to all of us.