Friday, April 19, 2013

Acts 11:1-18 Peter Explains His Actions

Today Peter has to explain his actions. How dare he enter the house of a gentile! This is not the action of a faithful Jew. And make no mistake about it, Peter and the other disciples still thought of themselves as Jewish. I can almost hear the self-righteous, condescending tone of the apostles and brothers. I wonder if any of them thought, “Yep, I knew that Peter was trouble.” Did any of them think that this was their chance to step up to be the “cornerstone of the church?”

Just to make sure the apostles and brothers understood, Peter told the entire story in great detail. I wonder if he was thinking, “Now I understand how Jesus felt when we didn’t understand him.” Did he think, “How long must I put up with these self-righteous, un-comprehending, un-believing people?” Did he think, “Really, must I explain myself, don’t you trust me?”

Peter made a point of sharing his vision and that the Spirit told him to go with the men from Caesarea as well as Cornelius’ vision. This did not seem to convince the apostles and brothers that Peter’s actions were justified. So, Peter told them that these gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s right folks, the gift that Jesus gave to us (good Jews, all of us) to start this crazy ride!

Then, just to make sure that the apostles got the point, Peter points to Jesus’ own words. “Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” He reasons that if God gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit, even though they had not been baptized and they were Gentiles, God must approve. If God approves, then who is Peter to question, so he baptized them.

How often have we thought that the love and forgiveness of Christ wasn’t for them? “Them” could be anyone who is different than us; the drug addict, the criminal, the homeless, the disabled, the young or the old.  Have you ever thought God couldn’t possibly want that person to receive His blessing, forgiveness or grace? Did God provide the miracle anyway? What did you learn from that experience?

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