A Different Perspective
Lord God, I’m thankful for the relationship we have because of Jesus, Your Son. May it grow ever closer each day.
Read Acts 11:1-18
 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.  So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him  and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”  Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story:  “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.  I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds.  Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’  “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’  “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’  This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.  “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying.  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.  He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter.  He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’  “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.  Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  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?”  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.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat led the apostles to accept the Gentiles as believers?
News had filtered back to the church in Jerusalem of Peter’s encounter with Cornelius and of Gentiles accepting the Gospel. It is likely that they hadn’t heard the whole story but what upset the Jewish Christians most was entering a Gentile home and eating what would be considered unclean food. How could they have done that (1-3)! When rights and wrongs are drummed into us from childhood, it is often difficult to shift a particular notion, so it is not surprising to read of this negative reaction. Peter talks them through all that happened in his encounter with Cornelius. As we read through this story again we see in the whole process a strong emphasis on God’s work (5,7,9,12,13,15,17). This is not a case of Peter ditching Jewish tradition, but rather the Lord’s leading and direction. Peter was not alone; there were six others with him who could testify to this spectacular work of God (12). In vs. 15-17 Peter demonstrates that what had occurred was of God so who were they to oppose this? The hearers respond with praise as they acknowledge this truth (18).
Have there been times when you might have been tempted to “oppose God” and God’s work in some way?
Gracious Lord, save me from ever putting my own traditions or prejudices in the way of others come to believe in You.
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