Friday, February 3
Everyone needs Jesus
Scripture: Matthew 25
Acts 10:1–5 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
(In addition to the Life Center plan reading the New Testament, I’m also continuing my rhythm of reading through the whole Bible using last year’s plan. Today, I’m journaling from that reading.)
The story in Acts 10 of Cornelius becoming a Jesus-follower is pivotal. The gospel was received by Gentiles for the first time. In the words of Peter, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34-35) Without this, the Christian faith would have remained a Jewish splinter group rather than good news for the whole world. So it’s a big deal.
But what struck me was that Cornelius’ devotion, piety and good works were not enough. He still needed Jesus. So God instructed him to send for Peter and hear the good news.
Cornelius was “devout and God-fearing.” And “he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” If you knew Cornelius, you might be tempted not to share the gospel with him because he was already good enough. In fact, he was better than a lot of Christians!
But God saw it differently. As good as he was, he still needed Jesus, so the Lord arranged for Cornelius to hear the gospel.
This is a great reminder for me that everyone needs Jesus—even the really good people! Sometimes I meet people who are religious or just really good and I don’t share the gospel with them. This makes it clear that God wants me to be ready to share the gospel with everyone. No one is too good. No one is too bad.
Everyone needs Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, I love you. And I stand ready today to go where you send me, and to share the good news with anyone and everyone. Here am I, send me.
More: Exodus 17-18, Acts 10