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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Who are we that we can hinder God?

Acts 11:1-18

11:1 Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.

11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him,

11:3 saying, "Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?"

11:4 Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying,

11:5 "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me.

11:6 As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.

11:7 I also heard a voice saying to me, 'Get up, Peter; kill and eat.'

11:8 But I replied, 'By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'

11:9 But a second time the voice answered from heaven, 'What God has made clean, you must not call profane.'

11:10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.

11:11 At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were.

11:12 The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house.

11:13 He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, 'Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter;

11:14 he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.'

11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.

11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

11:17 If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?"

11:18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, "Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life."

In the text from Acts today Peter is approached by the believers in Jerusalem and was criticized for allowing the Gentiles (non-Jewish) persons to become part of the body of Christ. Even in the earliest days of the our faith there were those who believed that only certain people were invited to believe in the Christ and be saved.  

This reminds me in some ways of the Church today, which can at times be judgmental and standoffish. There are many Churches and Christians who don't or won't accept people based on their differences.  What we must remember is that we serve a God who encompasses all, and just like Peter heard from God we must also be listening awaiting God's word. God is still speaking today and God is still inviting many different people into the body of Christ once someone shares the bread of life- God's word with them.  

Who are we, that we can hinder God? Dear God today enable us to set aside our own worries and insecurities that through love and truth we would no longer standoff from your  people but invite them into relationship with you and your Church. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen.     

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