Do I Get It? – A Reflection on Acts 1-5Posted: March 26, 2010
God wants the entire world to be saved, and sometimes man is slow to catch on to that fact. Even when man thinks he’s got it, he often doesn’t.
That’s what kept striking me over and over again as I read and reflected on Acts 1-5.
Jesus told the apostles to be His witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the world” (1:8), and this they did. But I wonder at how long it took. The more I look at it, the more I think that for a while they didn’t get it.
From the very first sermon preached by Peter, there was a worldwide audience – “devout men, out of every nation under heaven” (2:5). He finished up the sermon by correctly saying that “the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off” (2:39). Peter’s theology was perfectly correct – not surprising since he spoke by inspiration (2:4) – God was (and is) calling not just the Jews, but all who are far from him, including non-Jews. But how far was Peter’s practice from his theology? At least 10 years, apparently. Did that make him a hypocrite? No. He just didn’t get it. God wants all men to be saved.
In a later sermon, he quoted the promise God made to Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (3:25; c.f. Genesis 22:18). Of course, Peter is correct in applying this to first to the Jews, but could there be any clearer statement of God’s intention to bless all mankind through Jesus?
Then in 4:25-26, after being threatened for their testimony, the apostles pray to God for boldness and quote Psalm 2. Psalm 2, of all things! How could they miss David’s clear language, the inspired promise of the Father to the Son: “I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:8)?
Peter and the apostles had the clear statement of Jesus, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and a treasure trove of Old Testament scripture that they readily quoted – all pointing them to God’s mission heart for the world. The local church was growing by leaps and bounds, lives were being changed, and God was being glorified. They correctly taught the eternal truth that God desires the salvation of all mankind – but despite all this, for a while at least, they just didn’t get it.
Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? As I write this, I have to ask myself – do I get it? Despite how I’ve painted the situation, the apostles and the early church did get it; they just had some challenges to overcome. It took about 10 years for Peter to get to Cornelius’ house. About 10 years since I enthroned Jesus as my Lord, I wonder if I really get that the gospel isn’t just for Bermuda, or Lubbock, or people that look like me, or think like me, or whatever.
Lord, help me to get it.