Sunday, May 6, 2018

Posted on May 04 2018


Bible Background: This passage is sometimes cited as “Pentecost for the Gentiles”. It’s where the Jewish believers see and realize that the Holy Spirit is actively bringing non-Jews to faith in Jesus.
Caesarea was a modern Roman city and seaport on the Mediterranean. Joppa (Jaffa) was an ancient port city (near modern day Tel-Aviv). Jonah hopped on a ship at Joppa to run from God! (You might enjoy a Google search these two fascinating towns. Pastor has seen them in person!)
Digging Deeper: 1. The book of Acts has the apostles, and the Spirit, moving and working all over the place. God’s good news is getting out into the world! A Roman centurion-supposed to be devoted to Caesar-is wonderfully devoted to God! The messenger to him assures him that his prayers are welcomed by God. A life-changing experience happens while he is praying!
2. Peter is also praying when a strange, life-changing experience happens to him! This has to do with opening his eyes, heart, and mind, to see that ALL people are acceptable to God. Why do you suppose his vision and the command to “kill and eat” needs to happen three times?
3. Normally, Peter and Cornelius would never cross paths and would never be friends. The Holy Spirit, and their love for God bring them together across many barriers. Who or what type of person would you never cross paths with were it not for the work of the Spirit? How can we be open to the nudges or the invitations the Spirit sends our way?
4. While Peter is preaching the Holy Spirit ‘falls’ upon his new friends. Peter’s companions are astounded! The new people are baptized. The “Jesus Movement” becomes more inclusive!
5. Peter is called to change some deep-seated religious beliefs. Peter-one of the leaders of the early church! It’s not easy to let go of one conviction and embrace a new one. When was the last time you changed one of your core convictions? Why? How did your understanding of God or scripture help make that change?
6. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 12:8), but very little else is, including our faith and the church. Sometimes we seek change. Sometimes change finds us. How can we look for God’s hand at work in the changes we seek and the changes we don’t?