5th Sunday of Easter
Scripture: Acts 11:11-18
Today's scripture is a watershed of reality of the Christian faith. We are witnessing that all people of every nations are open to salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Peter had initially been on trial for going into the home of a Gentile. Strict Jews would have never conversed with a Gentile. It is barely conceivable that one would only go into a Gentile’s home. A Jew sitting at the table and eating with them was unheard of. Here Peter outrages the ancient law and must defend his actions.
Peter’s defense was not an argument. It was a statement of the facts. Whatever his critics might say, the Holy Spirit had come upon the Gentiles and must be noticed.
Here is the kicker for Peter’s defense: Peter took 6 brothers with him, totaling 7 people. An ancient law, which the Jews would have known well, states that 7 people were necessary to completely prove one’s case. Roman law, which they would also have known, states that 7 people were enough to seal the authenticity to complete a document like a will. Here Peter is reminding the critics that 7 witnesses prove that Christianity is for all people, Jews and Gentile alike.
While this does not make a bad person good, it does bring a person to the Spirit of God. The duty of Christians is not only to talk about our faith. We are called to live it by our actions and to reach out to a world in need. God’s love and forgiveness is for all humankind.
True repentances is a change of spiritual death to spiritual life that leads to everlasting walk with the Lord of love. Let us confess how we have not been God’s little children when we fail to love as we have been loved.
Who are we to get in the way of our Holy God? We put people into neat, little boxes, but You rip them open so folks can dance in Your joy. We imprison others with our unmet expectations, and You set them free with a word. We build walls around those we don’t know, and You tear them down, so they can run wild in Your kingdom.
Who are we to get in Your way, Saving Power, especially in the way of Your forgiveness offered to all! Give us your vision that sees everyone as equal – forgiven, loved, and covered by grace – even as we seek to follow You, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let us pray a unison prayer for forgiveness, that we may be witnesses through our words, actions (including love), and unity as the body of Christ!