Lent 2023 Day 28: Sat 25 Mar
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, ‘Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptised with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
The Holy Spirit came in power to back up the words Peter was saying – Peter hadn’t even finished what he had to say. Perhaps the Holy Spirit had decided that Peter had said enough. Would that the Holy Spirit of God had similarly shortened some sermons I have heard (and, I confess, preached) in the past!
It seems that the Holy Spirit is not going to stand on ceremony. It did not seem to matter that Cornelius or any of those present in his house was not yet baptised. Furthermore, Cornelius and his household had not gone through the ritual of circumcision. For Jews (male Jews, of course) circumcision was prescribed in the Scriptures as a mark of God’s ownership, something that was kept discrete and covered, but highly significant as an identity marker of faith, religion, and nationality. Peter’s Jewish companions had only known the Holy Spirit to have been poured out on Jews.
On the day of Pentecost Peter had quoted from the Book of Joel: I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. I wonder if he’d fully grasped the full truth of that prophecy. God took those words literally. He would, wouldn’t he!
Cornelius and his household are now baptised. I wonder what they talked about while Peter stayed with them for a few days.
When Peter got back to Jerusalem there was criticism from those who did not get it. Peter’s account of when the Holy Spirit came to disrupt things (verse 17) is a little different from the account above. Preachers beware!
If Cornelius had not gone through the proper order of things, yet still came out good with God. does that affect how we introduce new Christians to our church fellowship?
What are the first things a new Christian should be taught?
Father God, release me and my church fellowship into the freedom and un-orderliness of worship led by your Holy Spirit. Come and disrupt our plans. Amen.
I am doing a new thing (sit down with a cup of tea – 9 minute video)