Day 17 - Concord Student Journey
Read Acts chapter 11
The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came onthem as he had come on us at the beginning.16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a] water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
The Church in Antioch
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprusand Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples,as each one was able, decided to provide helpfor the brothers and sisters living in Judea.30 This they did, sending their gift to the eldersby Barnabas and Saul.
Acts chapter 11 tells the story of how the gospel of Jesus Christ reached the Gentiles, as Peter recounts his experience of visiting the home of Cornelius. This chapter is a powerful reminder of God's love for all people and His desire for us to share the good news with everyone.
One example we should look at from Acts 11 is the boldness of Peter in sharing the gospel with the Gentiles. Despite the cultural barriers that existed between Jews and Gentiles at that time, Peter recognized that God was at work in the hearts of Cornelius and his household. He put aside his own prejudices and boldly proclaimed the truth about Jesus, saying, "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him" (Acts 10:34-35).
Another inspiring example comes from the response of Cornelius and his household to the gospel message. They believed and were baptized, and their lives were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a powerful reminder that no one is beyond the reach of God's grace and that the gospel has the power to change lives.
Reflecting on Acts 11, we might ask ourselves:
Are there any prejudices or biases that we need to set aside in order to share the gospel with those who are different from us? How can we ensure that we are treating all people with the love and respect that they deserve as children of God?
Are we willing to step out in faith and share the gospel with those who may be culturally or socially different from us? How can we be more intentional about reaching out to those who may be on the margins of society or who may not have had the same opportunities that we have had?
May we be inspired by the examples of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 11 and may we be bold in sharing the love of Jesus with all people, regardless of their background or circumstances.
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