While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his message. The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking in strange tongues and praising God’s greatness. Peter said: ‘These people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did. Can anyone, then, stop them from being baptised with water?’ (verses 11, 17)
Read Acts 10:34-48
It couldn’t have been plainer. By pouring out his Spirit on Cornelius and those in his house, God said as clearly as possible that these Gentile people were, as well as the Jews, eligible for membership in his kingdom. And, if there was any doubt that God had poured out his Spirit on these people, that was dispelled in the outward sign of them speaking in tongues.
God is still pouring out his Spirit on people regardless of race, social standing or the colour of their skin. Wherever the gospel is spoken or lived out, the Holy Spirit is drawing people to God, even though it may not be as obvious as in today’s reading.
It can be hard for us Christians to fully accept that the gospel is for everyone, not just for ‘us in the church’. A broader outlook could well result in a shift in direction, not only in our church activities but also in the way we live day by day.
Dear God, because Jesus died for everyone, help me to see every person I come across as eligible for membership in your kingdom. Amen.
by Grace Simpson, in ‘God’s Promises for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1999)
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