May 14, 2019

For full passage click: Acts 11:11-18 …“If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” vs. 17

We can’t begin to believe how uncomfortable it was for the early disciples of Jesus to throw off their tribal instincts and begin receiving Gentiles into their community. Initially they had tried to limit their outreach and only talk to other Jews about the resurrected Jesus. But this gospel was bigger than they had imagined, and the Spirit soon led them in a new direction. Peter’s argument was simple. The people he had encountered in Caesarea had received the message with joy–who was he to hinder God? What was happening in Christ was reversing the trend that had narrowed Jewish practice. From now on, the community would be expanding its outreach. Christ wasn’t just for Jews, Christ was for all humanity. Of course, all this didn’t happen in a day. The disciples moved by fits and starts. Some tried to hold back; even Peter later tried to add limitations. But the Spirit cannot be controlled; as John later reported Jesus saying, “(It’s like the wind,) you can hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is going or where it is coming from.” There are those who still try to control the Spirit. They’re reluctant to change and hang on to the past with all their might. And they’ll never win! In the end none of us can hinder God!

Thought for the Day: When have I wished the Church would limit change?