Passage: Acts 11
v1-18 - In the previous chapter, Peter, who was Jewish, went to the home of the centurion Cornelius, a gentile, and that was a really big deal. As a people under Roman occupation, the fact that they were the only group who could call themselves God's covenant people was the last remaining aspect of their core identity. The news of what Peter did makes it back to Jerusalem before he does, and his fellow Christians were upset with Peter's disregard for the law of Moses. Starting at v4, Peter tells them the whole story about his vision and his visit to Cornelius' home. As soon as a his fellow believers heard and were convinced that Peter was aligned with God's Word, "they had no further objections and praised God (v18)." It's hard for us to imagine how big of a quantum shift was for these early Jewish Christians, and the big lesson for us is that alignment with God's Word must always come before alignment with what is considered to be culturally 'normal.'
v19-26 - The killing of Stephen back in ch. 7 had the unintended consequence of causing the church to spread out from Jerusalem, and with Peter's new discovery that the gospel is for gentiles as much as Jews, the church begins a period of growth. As the church grows, it sticks to its core mission and regularly met together to teach great numbers of people (v26).
v27-30 - Another core mission of the church is to take care of one another's physical needs, as evidenced by the new church plants sending financial support to those affected by the famine in Jerusalem.
Old Testament References - Add even more value to your daily Bible reading by reading a related passage from the Old Testament
Isaiah 42:1-8 prophecies about how God's covenant people will be a light for the Gentiles.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize.
Try to put yourself in the shoes (sandals?) of these early Jewish Christians. What would be the hardest thing for you to swallow upon hearing about the massive shift that was occuring?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our great God and Lord whose hand is with us in every way (v21)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will not be standing in God's way but rather that your life will be in sync with His will (v17)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: