Mike Novotny - Jesus Wasn't White
So here I am, sitting among the ruins of Caeserea. If you don't know the story, Caeserea is a famous city that Herod the Great, the king who tried to kill Jesus, built right on the Mediterranean Coast. And so many things in the book of Acts happened right here in this spot. And today I want to tell you one of my favorites. But before I tell you the story, let me tell you why it's my favorite. Because Jesus wasn't white. And he didn't speak English. And he was Jewish. And he's very different than me.
You know, it's crazy for us to think about today, but in the 1st century one of the biggest arguments that the church had was if God actually loved people who weren't Jewish. If you weren't like Jesus and Mary and Joseph, like Peter and James and John, would God still love you? Would he still forgive you? What Jesus did on the cross, does that come for you too? And it was here at this city of Caesarea that God answered that powerfully once and for all.
Here's a little bit of the story from Acts chapter 10. It says, "At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment". So he's a Roman soldier, he's not a Jewish man and he lives here. And so God orchestrates this incredible conversation where he brings the Apostle Peter right to this place. I mean, who knows exactly where it happened, somewhere right here, and he forces Peter to see, as he pours out the Holy Spirit, that God's love cannot be contained.
Now many of us love the passage that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son and here God proved that to be true. Cornelius believed the Gospel. The Holy Spirit was poured out on all of his household and even the Apostle Peter, a Jewish man, recognized it with these words. Acts 10:34, "Then Peter began to speak: 'I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right".
Now if you're Jewish and you believe in Jesus, maybe you didn't need to hear that news today. But if you're like many of us, that is shocking good news, huh? You don't have to be from this place, you don't have to be from Abraham's family tree. It doesn't matter your race, your language, your native tongue. It doesn't matter where your parents were born, where you were born. None of those things have to get in the way of the best news in all of creation, that there is a God and he loves and accepts us through faith in his Son, Jesus. And 2,000 years later that might not be shocking news to us but in this city, God broke open the news, he flung open the doors and he let the world know that his love could not be contained. It was for everyone who does what is right and trusts in Jesus. That is a powerful message from the city of Caesarea.