Day 5 Read: Acts 11:1-18
Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Reflect: Why is it easy to let differences divide us? Why does the fact that it’s easy not excuse that it’s wrong? How is the God of the Bible a God of diversity? Give examples. How did Peter’s step of sharing the gospel to non-Jews affect the history of Christianity?
Consider: Luke evidently considered this defence of Peter important and he preserves the marks of authenticity. It came originally from Peter himself (verses 5, 6, 15, 16). “The case of Cornelius was a test case of primary importance” (Page), “the first great difficulty of the early Church.” 5
Respond: What are some ways you can celebrate both your differences and your commonalities with others? How can you help bring about racial reconciliation in your place of work, family, or church this week? How might we respond if we saw racial situations and problems, not just as political issues, but as ministry opportunities?
5 A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Ac 11:4.