“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.” – (Acts 11:12)
The apostle Peter had to justify why he went to the house of a Gentile and ate with him (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 seems unbelievable to me, I can still remember the time when racism was more widely accepted and openly practiced. Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit — the promised power from God (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8) — would lead his followers to be witnesses to the “ends of the earth.” Peter makes clear that in this case, the Holy Spirit directly spoke to him and told him to go (Acts 10:19).
Once Cornelius and his household were brothers and sisters in Christ, fellowship was the result (Acts 10:48). While that seems so clear, 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. 3:26-39).
Prayer : Father, forgive us. Please forgive your children for our prejudice, selfishness, pettiness, and divisive attitudes. But more than forgive us, dear Father, 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.