Peter has been taken to task by other Jewish Christians for preaching to Cornelius. He is wrapping up his retelling of the story. “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning”(Acts 11:15). This is important because it means that the Holy Spirit “falling on” people is not the common way people are saved in this era. Peter says that it is an event that reminded him of “the beginning” when the Spirit descended on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”(Acts 11:16-17). This is an example of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which Peter takes to mean that God accepts them—and he should too.
This is the pivotal moment. Peter has presented his case. He has borne witness of the visions and miracles that have accompanied this event. What will these Jewish Christians do? Will they hold on to a lifetime of disdain toward Gentiles? Will they resist the direction God is leading? “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’”(Acts 11:18). “They fell silent” because they no longer have any criticism for Peter (Acts 11:2). They are convinced. They glorify God and begin to declare that God must now accept them.
The attitude of these disciples is refreshing. They are willing to drop their objections and embrace people they previously felt were defiled. They glorify God because he extends mercy to all men. The spread of the gospel here hinges on people being willing to change their long-held beliefs, embrace new people, and appreciate that God has done a thing they did not expect.
------------- One Thing to Think About: How willing to change am I?
One Thing to Pray For: A tender, open heart to truths I may not yet understand or accept
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