Thursday, April 5, 2012

Acts 10:21-23

Summary retelling of Acts 10:21-23

Peter does listen to the Holy Spirit this time, and he goes down to meet them.  Notice that he boldly introduces himself, initiating the interaction.  One of the envoys responds to Peter by introducing Cornelius as a Centurion who is God-fearing and well spoken about among the Jews.  The envoy also explains that Cornelius was directed by an angel to find Peter and bring him to Caesarea.  Peter invites the envoy from Cornelius into the house.  The next day, Peter leaves Joppa and heads for Caesarea to meet Cornelius.  Some of the folks from Joppa even go with Peter.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Peter goes down and takes charge.  Here we can see a really great contrast to the whole “kill and eat” scene.  When Peter was outside of his comfort zone – even when the Lord was speaking to him directly and giving him a vision, Peter was hesitant.  But when the Holy Spirit asks him to do something within our comfort zone, Peter is right there on cue and does it with boldness.  This teaches us two things.

  • First, we should always be interested in following the Lord, but we should also recognize that even with that attitude the stuff outside of our comfort zone will take a little warming up before we act.
  • However, the stuff inside our comfort zone we need to get to it and do it.  We don’t need to dance around it and take our time with it.  We just need to do it.

Does this ability to sort out God’s call into “inside the comfort zone” and “outside the comfort zone” help any?  Remember that we need to follow always, but we should also be following with a mind of accomplishing the easy and comfortable stuff now.

Second Thought:
The envoy takes Peter’s boldness and replies in like kind.  The envoy is likely empowered by Peter’s being upfront with him.  The envoy tells Peter everything about Cornelius – and he does it in a particular way. 

  • First, the envoy tells the scary part: Roman soldier. 
  • Second, the envoy the great part: upright God-fearer.
  • Third, the envoy tells the “religious” part: well-spoken about among Jews.
  • Last, the envoy tells the spiritual part: takes orders from God’s messengers and follows God.

Why do you think the order is important?  What advantages might there be in saying the first and last parts in the order they’re in?  What advantage might there be in burying the middle two parts into the middle of the list?  Does any of your answers have to do with picturing ourselves in a way that is best able to resist the self-monger within?

Third Thought:
After the exchange, Peter invites the envoys into the house.  They have been traveling, so Peter knows they need a bit of time to be refreshed.  Peter also no doubt wants to give them a chance to talk about Cornelius at greater depth.  It obviously works, because the next day Peter and a few folks from Joppa head out with him to see Cornelius.  Notice that these people go with Peter – although Peter is certainly a big enough boy to handle it all on his own.  There is nothing more important than doing the work of the Lord.

Do you think you would be willing to pick up and leave what you have behind to do the work of the Lord – even if temporarily?  How hospitable are you when it comes to inviting spiritual people into your midst and interacting with them (as Peter does)?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 10:24-29
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