Monday, October 01, 2007

Acts 11:1-18

Word traveled fast back to Jerusalem about what had taken place in Caesarea, and when Peter arrived back home, everyone wanted answers. This had apparently been an issue before, because Luke explains that there was already a "Circumcision Party" - those who believed that a person must become a Jew (get circumcised) before becoming a follower of Jesus. It actually makes sense that they would believe this, because up to this point all of them were Jews. They didn't understand that Jesus had died for Gentiles as well.

Those of the circumcision party were not happy. They felt that Peter had gone against the Torah (Jewish law). Peter explained what happened. This hadn't been his plan. He had no idea that this was going to happen. But he did hear from God, and he was obedient - and look what God had done! He shared with the apostles (and all the brothers and sisters) what had happened, then ended his story with, "If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed int he Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way" (11:17)?

Then there was silence. I imagine that it was perhaps a long period of silence. What was the response going to be? No doubt they were just as perplexed as Peter had been when he was on the roof. They could have easily dismissed Peter, but there was one problem: they knew him. At least ten of these men had walked with Peter for the previous eight years. He wasn't crazy.

Their response was to glorify God and proclaim that God had granted "repentance that leads to life" to the Gentiles as well as the Jews!

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