"The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with [Cornelius' messengers]
. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house."
— Acts 11:12 NIV
To Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, the apostle Peter had to justify why he went to the house of Gentiles and ate with them (Acts 11:1-3). Clearly, Peter went to share the good news of Jesus, but the sticking point was table fellowship with Gentiles. While this objection seems unbelievable to me, I can still remember the time when racism was more widely accepted and more openly practiced where I lived. Jesus had said that the Holy Spirit — the promised power from God (Luke 24:49) — would lead his followers to be "witnesses ... to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Peter makes clear that, in this case, the Holy Spirit directly spoke to him and told him to go (Acts 10:19-20). Once Cornelius and his household were brothers and sisters in Christ, the fellowship was the result (Acts 10:48). While this result seems so natural, think of the ways we segment people to keep from dealing with them as people, and even worse, as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Holy Spirit makes clear that we belong together, we are family, we are God's children, and all those old worldly distinctions have to melt away (Gal. 3:26-28).
Father, forgive us. Please forgive your children for our prejudice, selfishness, pettiness, and divisive attitudes. But in addition to forgiving us, dear Father, please transform us. Through the unifying power of the Holy Spirit, cleanse us and make us yearn to be with each other. Help us demonstrate the unity that outsiders need in our strife-torn world. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
About This Devotional
God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.