Wednesday 13 July, 2016

Acts 11:1-18

11 The apostles and the believers all through Judea heard that Gentiles had also received God’s word. 2 Peter went up to Jerusalem. There the Jewish believers found fault with him. 3 They said, “You went into the house of Gentiles. You ate with them.” 4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story. 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying,” he said. “There I had a vision. I saw something that looked like a large sheet. It was being let down from heaven by its four corners. It came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth. There were also wild animals, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice speaking to me. ‘Get up, Peter,’ the voice said. ‘Kill and eat.’ 8 “I replied, ‘No, Lord! I will not! Nothing that is not pure and “clean” has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 “A second time the voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, ‘Do not say anything is not pure that God has made “clean.” ’ 10 This happened three times. Then the sheet was pulled up into heaven. 11 “Just then three men stopped at the house where I was staying. They had been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 The Holy Spirit told me not to let anything keep me from going with them. These six brothers here went with me. We entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house. The angel said, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon Peter. 14 He has a message to bring to you. You and your whole family will be saved through it.’ 15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them. He came just as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the Lord’s words. ‘John baptized with water,’ he had said. ‘But you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 God gave them the same gift he gave those of us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they didn’t object anymore. They praised God. They said, “So then, God has allowed even Gentiles to turn away from their sins. He did this so that they could live.”

Peter is back in Jerusalem. The Jewish believers are being critical of Peter going to the gentiles and eating with them. Peter then recounts what happened to him in chapter 10, how God specifically led him to the God fearing gentiles (Gentiles who had adopted the Jewish faith) and how the Holy Spirit fell on them as it He had upon them at Pentecost.

This was a sovereign move of God – Peter was not going to stand in the way, even though it screamed in the face of all his culture, previous beliefs and understanding of gentiles.

I am reminded that God will always come and do things His way and this may mess with my head, my church culture and my current understanding of Him. I need to be careful not to jump in and criticize and miss what God is doing or worse, to actually stand in His way.

Lord, help me to keep my heart open to you and your ways and to not have you so rigidly put in a box that I miss the move of your Spirit.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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