Monday, February 24, 2014

Even on the Gentiles

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Acts 10:44-46 NIV
I find this passage to be both funny, and sad.  I can not help but laugh at these Jewish believers, and their amazement that God might have a place for Gentiles in his kingdom.  I can just see their mouths fall open and the look of amazement on their faces.  So totally unexpected.  And that is also what I find so sad.  Why didn't they know?  Why weren't they expecting this?  It's not as though though there weren't enough clues.

What makes it even sadder is that it is a lesson that we still seem not to have learned very well.  Is there anyone that you think is beyond God's love; anyone you would be amazed to come to know God?  If so, I would venture to guess that it was someone, or some group, that you were at odds with.

It may not be that you know them personally, but only know about them.  How many hard core Republicans would be amazed to see a Democrat come to faith in Christ?  Or how many hard core Democrats would be amazed to see a Republican come to faith?  How many of us have written off pretty much all of our national leaders as being unlovable, even by God?  And surely those terrorists who create so much havoc in the world are doomed and without any possibility of redemption.

And there are those I have know personally, or through chance encounter, that seemed so unlovable, that I could be excused for thinking that God must feel the same way about them that I do.  The homosexual neighbors; the co-worker who is always belittling you and your faith in God; the former friend who has betrayed your trust; the kid with the blue spiked hair, covered in tattoos and piercings, and with pants hanging well below where God intended them to be.

God made clear to Peter and his companions that he would accept anyone who seeks after him; no one is outside God's concern and love.  But someone needs to tell them.  Will I be willing to drop my prejudice and demonstrate God's love to them.  Or will I hold back and be a hinderance to their coming to know the Father?

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