“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…” vs. 45
Peter and his buddies were pretty confident they were God’s chosen ones and they could recite quite a litany of scripture passages to back that up. They were proud of who they were and the mark of circumcision that had set them apart from all others. It was their belief that what had happened in Jesus was God’s gift to their people–after all Jesus was a Jew and his ministry had taken place in a Jewish context. Outsiders could indeed become followers of Jesus but first they would need to become Jews through circumcision. That was the point of entry–and then could come baptism. But God was bigger than their puny regulations–there were no boundaries that the Holy Spirit could not cross–and it didn’t take long for Peter and his friends to have their eyes opened. That’s continued to be the story for God’s people as the years have passed. God’s heart is bigger than we can imagine and there’s room there for all kinds of loving to go on. We regularly see the fruits of the Spirit showing up in the most unlikely places, even in the lives of people with no faith at all. And we’re astounded! You’d think after all these years we’d have it figured out–God cannot be limited by religion!
Thought for the Day: When have I been astounded by the Spirit?