Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)
TITLE: New Revelation
By Lois Farrow
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While he had been trying to figure out what his weird vision meant there had been loud knocking on the door, and there on his doorstep were men asking him to go way up to Caesarea, nearly two days walk away, to talk to a Gentile centurion. He, Peter, a devout Jew, who would never associate with such a person! And would certainly never visit his home!
However, he had come into a place of agreement with God. Although still not fully understanding what his vision meant, he went north.
Now he was back in Jerusalem where the circumcised believers criticised him harshly, and brought him before the Apostles to explain his actions.
“You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them!” they accused. An unthinkable action for a devout Jewish Christian!
Peter was delighted to explain his case. It was still such a wonder in his mind, what God had done, what God had taught him, how God had opened his eyes to the wider vision of the kingdom.
“I was in the city of Joppa praying,” Peter began, and told the apostles his story. He recounted how God showed him the vision of unclean animals and birds lowered from heaven and told him to rise and eat. “Never,” he emphatically replied. “I have never eaten anything unclean or impure.” He was sure of his argument, obedient to the law he had known all his life.
“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean,” the voice in the vision told him. Three times this was repeated. While he was trying to figure out what this meant his visitors had arrived and in faith he had gone with them.
He told of the amazing happenings at the house of Cornelius, who had gathered a huge crowd to hear the word of the Lord. Cornelius too had a vision, and he did what God said and sent for Peter. Peter and his friends were astonished as they witnessed the Holy Spirit come on all those who heard the message. Soon everyone assembled was speaking in other languages and praising God.
“Now I realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right,” Peter told the gathered crowd in Caesarea. Peter stayed for a few days of teaching and then made his way back to Jerusalem.
Now Peter was explaining this radical change to the elders. These righteous Jews had become followers of Messiah Jesus, but still had their Jewish way of thinking. For centuries they had known that outsiders had no place in God’s family, but now God was telling them he had opened his kingdom to Gentiles! What a change in mindset had to take place!
“So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” Peter said to the Apostles.
Their opposition melted away, and they praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” What a blessing to us that those early church leaders accepted the testimony of Peter and this new revelation from God.
(Based on Acts chapters 10 and 11 NIV)
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