A Person of Peace

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
- Acts 10:1-2
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
- Luke 10:5-6

When Jesus sent his disciples on one of their very first mission assignments, he told them to be on the lookout for what has since become known as a “person of peace.” A person of peace in a community creates space for someone from outside the community to enter in and engage. And that’s how Cornelius operated in the passage we looked at last week (and will be looking at again this week).

Cornelius had a tenuous foot planted on both sides of a significant fault-line in the ancient world. He commanded 100 Roman soldiers and worshipped the God of Israel. To everyone who met him, his case would be an odd one.

God used Cornelius’ peculiar placement in a powerful way. As a Roman centurion, he had a significant social position. As a “God-fearer” (as Gentile worshippers of the Jewish God were called), he had a specific openness to the good news God wanted to send to him.

Cornelius stood at the doorway between the Christian church and the Roman world. His peaceful reception of Peter paved the way for the good news about Jesus to spread throughout the whole world.

In our day-to-day lives, we have opportunities to connect with people of peace, people who can help us cross fault-lines by receiving us when we make the leap across the divide. We also can be people of peace, welcoming those who make attempts to reach out to us across barriers of race, class, age and the like.

Who in your life do you think of as a “person of peace,” someone who welcomes you when you make attempts to reach out? How can you bless, support and connect with them this week?

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