So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
Matthew 4:18-20; 16:13-19; Acts 10:34; 15:7-11
Peter began his story in the Bible as just a plain fisherman who was invited by Jesus to follow Him. When Jesus came into his life, he became a new person and everything changed for him. While he never became a perfect person, he was always the Peter that Jesus had loved from the start. Peter was called the rock that Jesus built His church on because Peter recognized who Jesus was. Although he was untrained and started out from quite an ordinary existence, people were amazed at how boldly he spoke. Even after the ascension of Jesus to heaven, it was recognized by the people hearing Peter that he must have been with Jesus from the way he spoke and carried himself. How incredible the change must have been for people who did not know him to see Jesus at work in his life? Peter was transformed and given new purpose and meaning because he now belonged to the family of God. Since he had been accepted by God, he knew that God showed no favoritism and went on to fight so that everyone would be accepted into God’s family just like he had been.
Belonging to the family of God means that we are part of a new life with God. He gives us a new reason to live, helps us become more like Jesus and gives us brothers and sisters to be in community with through it all. The life of Peter shows us how Jesus looks for real people, calls out to us, invites us into His family and believes in us even if we fail over and over again. He was full of heart and passion and God knew it. God sought Peter out exactly for who he was, not for what he had done or failed to do.
Peter was the first great voice of the gospel both during and after Pentecost. He goes on to show us how to invite others into the family of God by extending the invitation to everyone. He was called by God to minister to the people that nobody else would go to and offered them the chance to know Jesus. He fought on behalf of Gentile believers to the Jerusalem church that did not know what to do with them. He pressed on so the new believers would be granted respect and an equal place at God’s table and it was because of this fight that helped people see God’s love was truly available to everyone. What a life changing moment in the course of history that helped made it possible for all to enter into God’s family! Remember, some people want to feel they belong before they believe so allow your family to grow and you will see God shine through it.
Questions to think about:
- Is there anyone who could use you as an advocate so they might be included in the great things God is doing?
- Part of being in the family of God is realizing that we are all in it together. What Christian relationships exist in your life that would benefit from viewing them as family members instead of outsiders? How does this change your interactions with them?
- Think about the people in your life. Who among them may struggle with feelings of loneliness or a lack of a caring and supportive community? These are the people you can invite into the family of God. Think of some ways to do this that focus more on loving them than trying to make them believers.