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.”
As Peter re-tells this story, you can hear his amazement and excitement. When he went through it, he was stunned. Now he is excited because he knows that at the end of these events, the Holy Spirit showed up and came to live in these questionable Italian Gentiles. (If you make a band by that name, at least give me a T-Shirt.)
The great thing is that Peter has had some time to think about it and bring in memories of what Jesus taught. Those that had been with Jesus would have remembered His statement about “baptizing with the Holy Spirit” and it would have clicked. When He said that originally, that was a completely foreign and new concept. To be immersed in the Holy Spirit?
The fact that God would be working in unison with Peter and non-Jewish people to bring them into the Body of Christ is a huge life and paradigm shift. This changes everything. This is on the level of a major revival or discovering that all red-haired people have super-powers. The degree of racism against Gentiles by the Jewish people at this time has no equivalent in our modern age.
But the joyful and convincing testimony of Peter converted the Jewish-background Christians to believe in the full mercy and grace of God.
As we tell stories to one another, we want to tell stories that increase our faith! We want to tell the stories that help show where the grace of God is showing up. Anybody can complain about a _______ [fill in the blank, check Facebook for suggestions] but the Holy Spirit wants to cheer us on and for us to cheer on one another.
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