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Acts Reading Plan | Week 9 | Day 3
As we have been practicing in our daily readings, take a moment to pause, silently. Take a deep breath in and then slowly release. Do this three times. In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. As you come to spend time with Him today, open the time giving him the areas of your life where you are not at peace, and ask Him for His peace.
Bible Reading: Acts 11:1-18
Read these verses three times slowly.
The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
“The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
“Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 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. He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Reflection & Questions
We’ve seen over the last few readings that God broke down many prejudices in Peter’s heart as He led him to help Cornelius and his household. And beautifully, now Peter has found new brothers and sisters in Christ who are Gentile (and Roman!). However, this new found joy is threatened immediately by the other Jewish believers. Luke tells us, “the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”” They aren’t so sure about Peter’s new freedoms.
Just because God changes our hearts and deals with prejudices we have, doesn’t mean others are going to receive that change well. But Peter doesn’t criticize them back. He doesn’t react. He takes time to explain. Luke states, “Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story.” Peter leads the believers well. He takes time, he tells the story (even the part where he argues with God). Just as Peter leads well, the Jewish believers follow well. They listen to Peter and take in what he says. Luke tells us, “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God.”
If only all conflict between believers went so well. Gentle sharing. Careful listening. And ultimately, God is praised.
- Truthfully, how would you have responded to the criticism if you were Peter in this situation?
- Are there lessons from this reading that help with a conflict in your life right now?
Talk to God in response to today’s reading. If there is a conflict you are facing, talk to God about it and ask Him for His perspective on what you should do next.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
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