Friday 08 May 2015

Bible Book:

“Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” (v. 3)

Acts 11:1-18 Friday 8 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm 4


Peter returns to Jerusalem after his journeythrough Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea. He had stories to share of God'sworking in the world beyond Jerusalem. Instead, though, he is facedwith an interrogation over who he had been eating with. It isinteresting to note that they did not ask about his baptizing ofGentiles (non Jews) or Tabitha who was raised from the dead. Theyjust asked why he had eaten with Gentiles.

This may seem insignificant to us, but for theseearlier followers of Christ still deeply rooted in the traditionsof the Jewish faith it was a big deal. Eating with Gentiles, whodid not observe the same food laws as the Jews, would have madePeter and his companions unclean. For some this was not acceptableeven within their new-found freedom in Christ.

Peter seems to pay little attention to thequestion and instead recounts the story of the previous chapter ofhow he received a vision, was invited to Caesarea, shared the goodnews and saw the Spirit fall. At no point does he directly answerthe question about eating with Gentiles other than to repeat thewords of his vision "what God has made clean, you must not callprofane" (v. 9).

By the end of his story those listening realisesomething greater is happening, and that their fear about Peterbeing unclean is turned to praise for what God has done. Theyrejoice that the Gentiles now receive forgiveness that leads tolife (v. 18). Thankfully for now this deals with the issue ofsharing food with Gentiles though this issue never truly goes away(Acts 15:20Galatians 2:11-14).

To Ponder

  • The issue of eating with certain people seems to be moreimportant to the work of God. Have there been times when rules havegot in the way of the work God is doing?
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