Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Acts 10:44-48

Summary retelling of Acts 10:44-48

As Peter teaches them, the Holy Spirit comes upon Cornelius and all those who are listening to him.  Those who came with Peter are absolutely amazed to see the Holy Spirit descending upon non-Jews.  Cornelius and his family were giving praise to God – even in different tongues.  Upon seeing the Holy Spirit present among the Gentiles, Peter recognizing that they can be baptized as well.  They are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Peter and his associates stay with Cornelius for a few days.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Let’s make sure that we understand how odd this would have seemed to Peter and to the people with him.  Imagine driving up to a building and only seeing Harley Davidson motorcycles parked outside.  When you go inside, everyone is dressed in black leather and torn T-shirts.  Almost everyone has a tattoo.  The music blaring over the radio is heavy metal.  All of a sudden, someone comes up to you and sticks out their hand and says, “The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”  Wouldn’t you be surprised!

Why is it important to remember that God works according to His agenda rather than working according to our expectations?

Second Thought:
This story is the climax of the story that began with Peter’s vision of the sheet.  What God has made clean, none of us have any reason to call unclean.  Our life should not be ordered by our human expectations but rather by looking for where God is at work and where God’s name is being praised.  Life is not about asserting our version of Christianity – life is about asserting God’s will and God’s agenda!

How does this story actually speak to us about how tradition actually gets in our way as Christians?  How important is it to try and find a balance between the stability of tradition and still be accepting of the new things that God is doing?

Third Thought:
In the end, the Gentiles are baptized without having to convert to Judaism first.  In the grand scheme of things, converting to Judaism seems rather small.  After all, if God is with a person, does it matter whether they have become a Jew first?  The same thing can be said about Christians.  If someone comes to me having spent most of their life as a non-Lutheran but they clearly have the Holy Spirit within them – is it really all that important that I find a way to “make them Lutheran?”

What is the higher priority – making someone Lutheran or helping them to know Jesus Christ?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 11:1-3
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