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.”
Early Jewish Christians would have wanted to hear why Peter was spending time among Gentiles. The Gentiles were unclean and even though Jewish people had found Christ their prejudice remained. Peter replays the story of his own conversion from a person suspicious of Gentiles to one who calls them brother and sister. The miraculous way in which God has transformed everyone involved lends to the credibility of God’s story and causes those back in Jerusalem to both accept the Gentiles and accept what God is doing through them. In hearing, second hand, about what God is doing in the world, the hearts of the Christians in Jerusalem overflow in worship.
Some of the most exciting times I had in church growing up were when missionaries would come to the church and report what they had seen happening abroad. I think that their stories emboldened me to talk about Jesus more in the state school that I attended. I expected to see God work in similar power to the ways which they described. Lines of communication need to be open between those who are seeing God work and those who need encouragement. Powerful testimony to God’s working brings encouragement to the body of the church.
May I be open with what You have been doing in my life and may I seek to hear what You are doing in the lives of others. Let’s provide a platform for testimonies and let me know who should talk and when.
- To whom does Peter report?
- What does he tell them?
- Why do they need to know?
- Whose report of God’s work has encouraged you recently?
- To whom have you reported God’s work through you?
- Follow the link to see how you can pray for mission work and even think of joining TEAM https://team.org/