Daily RCL Bible Reading Devotional – April 20th, 2016

Scripture Reading(s)

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.”


Justin-Holmes1.jpgThis passage in Acts really gives us insight to the internal debate going on in the early church about the role of salvation among the Gentiles and what that meant for the Jews. Having the Holy Spirit usher in the Gentiles to the Kingdom of God was a bit of a problem because many Jews assumed they would have to become Jews first….. and then become Christians.

However, we see in the book of Acts that God had other plans. His plan all along was to bring all people to Himself, not bring all people into the Jews. Though, technically, in the early days that would have been welcome. Either way, God opened the floodgate for all mankind to come to Him regardless of their previous religious affiliation or their social status, and what a good thing it was. The faith of the early church was littered with miracles and testimonies.

But it’s easy to be complacent in our faith. Like Peter, we need to bring this good news to others. Like Peter, we should find the outcasts and oppressed and tell them that hope is here. A salvation that cannot be denied has arrived and all they need to do is put their lives in the hands of Jesus. It’s a simple yet powerful message.

Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled (Luke 14:23)


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