“So Peter opened his mouth and said…As for the word he (God) sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened…from Galilee…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He (Jesus) went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil (for God was with him). And we were witnesses…they put him to death by hanging him on a tree…but God raised him on the third day…and made him to appear…And he commanded us to preach to the people and testify that his is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead….” Excerpts from Acts 10:34-42
The Spirit gave Peter instructions that went against all of his background and experience. “Here (the angel said), have a big bite of snake.” What would I do given the same circumstances?
“Have some bacon, Peter…If I say it is good, who are you to contradict me?” Besides, bacon is real good.
It has only been recently that I have thought about this scene; and, taking the serious subject being addressed off to the side, it had to be a hoot. Peter is gagging, turning green, and all that. And in a vision, no less.
But it led to a serious subject: Gentiles in the Kingdom. God answered it concretely—“If I say good, it is good.” Yea for us!!
But what I thought really interesting was Peter’s reaction at Cornelius’s home—not the resisting response Peter had initially in the vision—but when Peter saw the Gospel being played out and presented in Gentiles no less, what did he do? Peter recited the Gospel.
Now, it wasn’t fully thought out yet. Those Apostles were still trying to put what they knew into words so as to become doctrine. It really wasn’t until Paul came around that the Gospel as a doctrine started to take shape. But that is not the point.
Even then, Peter was thinking of the Gospel. He was looking through the lens of the Gospel. He was renewing his mind to conform to the Gospel. The scripture referenced above said “So he opened his mouth and said…” I can’t help but think “Peter did this flat-footed. It just blurped out.” Peter appears to have prepared by constantly pondering and musing on the Risen Messiah and the implications of being the appointed Judge of the Living and the Dead.
I am set back on my backside again. I don’t do this. Not much anyway. How can I mirror Peter so that I can be ready to give an account for the faith? I wrote “the faith” on purpose. Defend my faith? I am already on shaky ground if I am offering a defense for MY faith. Who cares about man? An account of ‘The Faith.” Ah, there’s the ticket!!
Peter didn’t talk about what Jesus meant to him (although he could eloquently I imagine), he talked about the objective truth, eye witness stuff AND what he has come to know as the unalterable facts concerning the Son of God. Peter said things that are without refute. He spoke about God.
The Gospel can be told from an experiential point of view, no doubt. “What has Jesus done for me?” and I can list out reams of pages. But a better question may be “What has Jesus done? What are his Works, what are his Ways? Why is the Gospel the Gospel?” These are the things the world needs to know.
And are the things I need to plow deep into the soil of my heart.
Lord God: the Sin of Israel “They soon forgot!!” Stir my heart mightily with this stuff, Lord. I don’t want to forget or downplay your Word. Peter did a little later in the record of Acts—forgot the vision given to him in lieu of fearing man. I am old, and still dealing with that same thing. Help me O God. AMEN.