5/3/16 The First Gentiles Receive The Holy Spirit

Peter follows Cornelius into the house and sees all the people gathered there.  He greets them, then says, “You all know that among Jews, especially Pharisees, it is considered unlawful for us to enter the home of a non-Jew or to even interact with non-Jews.  If I adhered to that standard, I should not be here right now speaking with you.  But God, on the same day that your messengers came to me, showed me that there is no longer any reason for Jews and Gentiles not to associate with each other.  So when the messengers asked me to come, I came right away, with no objection.  Now, why is it that you wished for me to come to you?”  Cornelius answers, “Four days ago, I was fasting until about this time, and then when it was time for evening prayers, an angel came to me.  He told me that God has seen my good works and heard my prayers.  He described where to find you and said to send three men to seek you and ask you to come.  He told me that you would tell me what I must do.  So I sent the messengers right away, and you have come to me.  Now we are all gathered here together to hear what God wants you to tell us.”  Peter looks at the eager faces of the assembled guests and smiles.  “You know that God doesn’t care whether someone is rich or poor, beautiful or homely, well-educated or uneducated.  He looks on the heart.  I have been shown recently that this does not apply only to the Jews, but to all people everywhere around the world and all throughout time.  God sent Jesus to us to live as a man, but to live a life completely free from sin, and then to sacrifice Himself freely, once and for all, to pay the penalty for our sins.  He is the King of all Kings, the Ruler over everything.  I know that you must have heard of what He has done, because He traveled from Galilee throughout all of Judea to Jerusalem, preaching the message God gave Him, healing people, and freeing them from enslavement to demons.  From the time He was baptized by John, God endowed Him with the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling Him to do all these miracles.  I and my brother apostles are all witnesses to everything He said and did, because we were with Him from the beginning of His ministry to the end, when those in power in Jerusalem killed Him by hanging Him from a tree.  And even after that, because He did not remain in death.  On the third day God raised Him to life again and He walked among us once more.  Not everyone saw Him, only those whom God chose were privileged to interact with Him after He returned from the dead.  But my brother apostles and I ate and drank with Him, and He charged us to continue His ministry, to go throughout the world and proclaim His message of salvation, to heal the sick, and to free those enslaved by demons.  Every prophet in the Bible wrote about Him, foretelling His coming and describing who He would be and what He would do, even down to how He would die.  And they also confirm that He is the Son of God, and whoever calls on His Name to save them from their sins will receive that salvation, which in turn grants us eternal life with Him in Heaven.”  The men of Joppa who came with Peter are standing behind him and listening to him speak.  They have been watching the assembled guests carefully and suddenly notice a change in their faces.  A look of pure joy comes over each face, and even as Peter is still speaking, they begin to shift their positions and pray, calling out to God in their joy to praise Him.  Some are even praying in other languages.  The men realize that these Gentiles have just received the Holy Spirit.  They are stunned, because this is the first time any non-Jewish believer in Jesus has received the Holy Spirit.  Peter, smiling widely, says, “My brothers, there is nothing to stand in the way of your being baptized into faith in your Messiah.  Let us go to the water.”  Singing and still praising God, the whole group pours out of the house and every one of them is baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, just like their Jewish counterparts have been.  When the celebration is over, they ask Peter to stay with them for a few days, and he gladly accepts, wanting to teach them as much as possible while he is with them.

 

Acts 10:27-48

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s