January 01, 2021 – Friday
Happy New Year
Acts 11:11-14 NIV
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying.
12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.
13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter.
14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
The first 18 verses of this chapter tell the story of Peter recounting how Gentiles were saved. He had to tell of the event and how it came about because of the objections by many who were saved in Jerusalem (v1-3), The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Then Peter told them about the vision he received from God about clean and unclean food and his reaction to it (v8-10), “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
It is important to remember that it was a sin for Jews to have any unnecessary contact with Gentiles, especially to enter their homes and to eat with them. God’s vision to Peter showed that was no longer true. Thus, when we come to our verses for the day, “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. The Spirit told Peter to go with these Gentiles with no hesitation contrary to Jewish customs and law. Once there, they entered the man’s house where Cornelius spoke of how an angel appeared to him telling him to send for Peter in Joppa. And then said of Peter, He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.
Peter then recounted how (v15-17), “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
That was when the same circumcised believers who had initially opposed what they had heard of Peter being in the house of and eating with Gentiles fully relented and (v18), they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” They acknowledged God’s salvation was for anyone and everyone who would repent and accept the salvation offered through Jesus. Later, Paul would make this more explicit when he wrote in Galatians 3:27-29, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. Then two chapters later he would add (5:6), For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Prayer: Almighty God-Heavenly Father – Thank you for letting us know salvation through Your Son is available for everyone with no exceptions. From all walks of life, all cultures, the salvation You provided out of love for Your creation is there for each and every one of us without exception. – In Jesus name. Amen.