ODJ: crossing the line

June 27, 2015 

READ: Acts 10:34-48 

God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean (10:28).

The deaf community at the midsize American church was struggling. Two of their most faithful members had died. Their longtime interpreter was retiring, and the church was changing pastors.

The new pastor knew the importance of speaking to people in their language, so he worked on his sign-language skills. One Sunday, prior to the worship service, he struck up a halting conversation with one of the deaf seated near the front. Soon he stepped off the platform and sat down next to her. He paid close attention to her signs and carefully signed back. He asked questions and accepted her patient correction of his signing mistakes.

The deaf seated around them noticed! That pastor made himself vulnerable and crossed the line into their world.

The apostle Peter crossed a big line into a new world—the world of the Gentiles. As a devout Jew, he carefully followed the prohibitions against eating certain foods or entering the home of a Gentile. But God was smashing the walls that divided people, so in a vision He spoke to Cornelius, a God-fearing Roman military leader (see Acts 10:1-7). Then he spoke to Peter (vv.9-21). Soon Peter went to the centurion’s house, and the church grew in ways previously unimagined! (vv.34-48). Luke writes, “The Jewish believers . . . were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too” (v.45).

—Tim Gustafson

365-day-plan: Mark 2:23–3:19

Read Acts 10:1-33 to see how God used Cornelius and Peter to smash the division between Gentile and Jewish believers. 
What can you do in your church or neighbourhood to turn some walls into bridges? How does Jesus’ example of crossing the line encourage you to do the same?