Daily Devotion – May 7, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison
10:44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.
10:45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles,
10:46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said,
10:47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
10:48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.
Picture Peter speaking to a group of people. The tight group right in front of him are Jews who have believed forever that God would send a Messiah to them. Peter is describing this Messiah in terms they recognize, a lot of nodding and acknowledgement is going on, and they are prepared to claim Jesus as the Son of God. This convincing is the Holy Spirit’s doing even more than it is due to Peter’s bold words. These Jews are convinced as they listen to Peter and as the Holy Spirit convicts them of the truth of the words.
A crowd has gathered also at the edges of the room, in the far corners, on the fringes. These aren’t sons and daughters of Abraham and Sarai. These are north Africans and Asians and maybe even a European or two – weirdos to the Jews. Strangers. Unfaithful. Even untouchables. And the Holy Spirit is murmuring to them as well, helping Peter’s words convince them to believe in this Jesus who has come from God out of his deep love for people.
Peter invites the crowd to be baptized in Jesus’s name, and the Jews are startled that all these weirdos think they can come too. Hey, who do they think they are? Peter says that they, like the gathered Jews, have heard God’s words and believe in God’s love and the holiness of Jesus. Can you imagine the joy of those weirdos and outsiders? This man of God, Peter, yes, even God Godself, has accepted them just as much as if they were Jews, this nation set apart. Amazing. Their welcome of Peter in return must have been complete and tremendous. No wonder he stayed for several days. Think of the joy – to know no boundary of culture or race can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!
Lord God of all, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for teaching us again and again that nothing can separate us from you, no matter where or when we were born, what color our skin is, what rituals our parents followed, or what we might have done or left undone. Amen.