Sometimes we take it for granted that we have access to the gospel. We forget that there was a time when the Jews thought that Jesus was just for them. In fact, in Acts 10 we learn that some Jews were astounded that God would save Gentiles. Throughout Acts 10 we learn that the grace of God really is a grace for every race.
A Little Background
The Jewish people were a very proud people. They hated the Samaritans because they were not pure Jews. The called them ‘half-breed dogs.’ They could not fathom God wanting to save the Samaritans.
But the one thing they hated more than the Samaritans were the Gentiles.
Jews would have nothing to do with Gentiles. They would not stay in their homes as a guest. They would rather sleep on the streets than a Gentile’s house. Dirt from a Gentile country was considered defiled. If a Jew had been walking though a Gentile area he would shake the dust off his feet before entering Jewish territory. Jews would not eat food prepared by Gentile hands.
Before the gospel could be preached to all nations there was a cultural barrier that had to be broken down.
The Cultural Barrier
In verse 28 Peter clearly points to the cultural barrier that existed.
You know it’s forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner. But God has shown me that I must not call any person common or unclean.
He again highlights this barrier in verse 34-35.
Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.
This is seen in the Jews’ response to Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit in verse 45.
The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
There was a clear cultural barrier that stood in the way of the gospel spreading to the Gentile people — a barrier that God tore down.
Grace for Every Race
The gospel message was not just for the Jews, but for all people. This truth is seen in a couple of verses in this passage starting in verse 35.
But in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.
Again, it can be clearly seen in verse 43.
All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins.
The message of Christ is not a secret to be protected, it is hope to be spread. As believers we must embrace the truth that the gospel of Jesus Christ — the grace of God — is available to all, and as such, it is to be communicated to all. This responsibility falls on those of us who have, in God’s grace, received the message of the gospel.