What does it mean that God “shows no partiality” – that God is not one to play favorites? Does this sound like good news to us, or not? What does God’s impartiality mean for us, for the way we relate to God, and for the way we try to live – or ought to? This may be one central question that we need to grapple with as we study Acts 10:34-47 for Sunday, November 28. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a couple more questions we might want to reflect on, or discuss in class:
What does Peter’s simple but compelling picture of Jesus mean to us, and for us? What does it mean to us, and for us that Jesus is Lord? Of all? That Jesus in life “went around doing good and healing those oppressed by the devil”? That Jesus is ultimate judge?
How similar is our own picture of Jesus to Peter’s? How do we feel about the similarities, and the differences, between our picture and Peter’s?
[A little more theological] Peter describes Jesus as being anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and with power. We might also describe the Church this way. For instance, Luke describes individual Christians, like the apostles and others, this way throughout the book of Acts. Thoughts about that? Feelings? What does that mean for us – in particular for the way we live, do we think?
[More personal] Has the Holy Spirit ever “fallen on” us, would we say? How did that feel to us, and what happened? What seem to be the consequences of that?
[Definitely more theological, but also personal, and maybe even a trick question] At the beginning of our text, Peter announces that he is understanding that God is not one to show partiality. At the end of the text, Peter instructs Cornelius and his friends to be baptized. Why, do we think? What does that say about baptism, or about Peter’s understanding of baptism? How is baptism in the name of Jesus Christ related to God’s impartiality?
It seems worthwhile to think hard about what this text is telling people – us – to believe, and to do. And why we think that. How would believing that, and doing that, lead us to love God and our neighbor more?
Image: “Am Mittagstisch,” an image by Hermann Groeber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,