Read Acts 11:1–18
The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTo change our minds about a long-believed principle can be painful. But a fresh perspective can be healthy.
News of the amazing events in Cornelius’s house spread all around the country (1), but not everyone was happy. Look at the grounds of the opposition (3). Religious observance is habit-forming, and old habits can be hard to break.
Wouldn’t you like to have been present when Peter told the story? Can you imagine the expressions on the faces of his critics when he told them about the vision of the sheet with unclean animals? (Disgust?) What about their look when he told them of the Spirit’s insistence that he go with his Gentile visitors to Cornelius’s house? (Confusion?) At what point in his story do you think they changed their minds about Peter? There must have been raised eyebrows at the story of an angel coming to Cornelius and telling him to fetch Peter, and then open-mouthed amazement at the result—the Holy Spirit coming upon the Gentiles just as he had upon the Jewish believers. Surely no one could stand in the way of this astonishing new thing God had done?
God loves to do new things! What is he currently challenging you to try?