Friday, June 14, 2019
36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
This is the message Peter gave to a large gathering of people in Caesarea. Peter had a vision that God was telling him to eat from a large variety of animals, both those considered acceptable by Jewish dietary laws as well as those considered unclean and prohibited from eating. As Peter was considering this vision, a group of men stood at his door, asking for him. The Holy Spirit told Peter not to hesitate in going with them.
Peter and some others went to Caesarea and there met Cornelius, a centurion from the Italian Regiment. Cornelius told Peter about his vision, in which God told him to send for Peter to come so they might hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Peter realized that God had a bigger vision for humanity, one that went beyond boundaries set up by Jewish dietary laws and one that included both Jews and Gentiles, enabling all to receive salvation through Christ.
Cornelius was a godly man, and God spoke to him through the Holy Spirit. God spoke to Peter through the Holy Spirit, reassuring him that God’s plan included meeting these strangers, even though they were not Jewish. In his words before these Gentiles, Peter testified that Jesus was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power, so that Jesus was able to heal those who were under the power of Satan.
Know that the Holy Spirit is active today. God speaks to us through a conviction that grows within us about the right path to take. God speaks to us as we study scripture and stay connected to God in prayer, or by bringing us to faithful people who are attentive to God. You or I may never have a vision such as Peter and Cornelius experienced. Yet God is still moving in our lives today in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Holy and merciful God, you move in ways that are beyond our limited understanding, yet we praise you as you speak within our hearts, convicting us and moving us to grow in you. By your Spirit, you bid us be rid of old prejudices that divide us one from another. By your Spirit, you would transform us to be more like Jesus in his love and courage. Make us one, Lord, in Christ our Savior. Amen.