Discover Scripture and Life
1Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If 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?” 18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”
31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Questions for Reflection
- What was the wrong crowd to hang out with when you were in school? Did you anyway?
- Why was it a problem for some that Peter welcomed the uncircumcised and ate with them? What seems to be at stake?
- Of what importance is the gift of the Holy Spirit in Peter’s argument? Why would this have such a strong effect on the Jerusalem believers? What would the experience of Pentecost have to say about this?
- How have you changed over the years by giving up old established traditions for the sake of something more, or a greater inclusion?
Discover More about the Message
Reflect on the message you heard in person or on-line. You can listen to the message online here.
- What is something you heard that was interesting or engaging?
- Is there anything that raised a question or needed more explanation?
- What is one thing you take with you? It may be something to do, something to trust, or a wisdom of insight to have.
Together with God in Prayer
OPTION 1—ONE WORD. Take time to reflect about your day, your concerns, and how God may be speaking to you. As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling? What might God be saying to you in this word?
OPTION 2: Reflect on the past 24 hours
Step 1: Ask God to calm your self and help you see your life from God’s perspective.
Step 2: Review the last 24 hours. What happened? What stands out? What captures your attention? What is a High and Low of this time? When did you experience God’s presence? When did you feel apart or distant from God?
Step 3: Give your day to God your day. Ask for forgiveness where needed. Give thanks.
Step 4: Look forward. How might you be more loving this day? What is God calling you to do?
Prayer—Who or What can you pray for today?
Close in the Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Five Minutes with God
Introduction. The first followers of Jesus had what they believed to be good reasons for staying away from people with different bodies who ate different foods. Having lived under a legal system that made very definite distinctions between people, “staying away” was a spiritual practice for them. However, the Spirit who guided their new faith in Jesus had a new way of life in mind: What God has made clean, you must not call profane; do not make a distinction between you and others.
Spiritual Practice. We still make distinctions between “us” and “them,” and the Spirit continues to say: do not make a distinction between you and others. This week pay attention to the times you label others as they or them (or however you label others as unfavorably different than you). Allow these times to be a signal for you to stop, spend a moment with the Spirit, and discern how and why you are making that distinction. As you grow in Spirit-filled awareness, you will grow a Spirit-filled attitude towards others. Then watch how the Spirit surprises you with fellowship (and perhaps foods!) you never imagined possible.