We walked through the ruins of Caesarea last year on our trip to Israel. The ancient city was built by Herod the Great in honor of Caeasar Augustus in about 20 BC. It was positioned on the Mediterranean coast and boasted the largest man-made port in the ancient world. From a biblical perspective, it is where Paul was imprisoned for over two years before being sent to Rome (Acts 23-26). It is also where Peter visited the home of Cornelius and God revealed to him the equality of all people. Peter stated, “But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).
Peter’s experience reveals that racial tensions have been around for thousands of years. It also reveals that God has a better way for man to live, namely, with love, respect and equality. Peter violated his own Jewish traditions by entering the house of Cornelius, the Roman officer. He was also criticized by his fellow Jewish Christians (Acts 11:1-4). God dealt with Peter over his prejudice and then used Peter to share the good news of Jesus Christ, and many were saved (Acts 10:44). What do we learn from the story?
First, that in the eyes of God, we are all equal. No race, color, nationality or culture should be referred to as impure or unclean. We are all created by God with great value in His eyes. Peter went on to say, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35, NLT). Prejudice lies in the heart of those who cannot see others the way God does.
Second, that in the eyes of God, we are all loved. When Jesus said in John 3:16 that God loves the world, He meant the entire world. He loves every child of every age. He loves every culture in every nation. He loves the unborn child and the elderly. The children’s song was right when it proclaimed, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious in His sight.” God loves you and the neighbor beside you. The Lord Jesus died for every person because of God’s great love.
Third, that in the eyes of God, everyone needs to be saved. The events of the past few months show the brokenness of our world. The results of sin are on graphic display across our nation. Jesus Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3:17). He died in our place. His death is a picture of the greatness of our sin. He was not just beaten; He was crucified. Sin demands a high price, and everyone needs rescued – everyone.
Strive to view others this day through the eyes of God. Be kind. Show love. Speak peace. Pray often. Know that everyone you meet is someone whom God loves and for whom Christ died.