Peter’s simple, straightforward logic, and God’s obvious affirmation, rendered them speechless. There was no tenable argument, no counterpoint could be made, God had made His desire and will abundantly clear. But this issue was going to crop again and again. Prejudice is hard to get rid of.
Often, it seems, the way God does that is to shake things up with the unexpected, the unanticipated. Depending on how entrenched you and I are in the way we view something, will determine how willing we are to even entertain the new ways, new perspectives, and new challenges God presents.
You know how it feels to be stuck? You can’t see any way out, and you sure wish you could get out. This onramp at the end of Acts chapter 9, leading to Acts chapter 10, is all about breakthroughs, Peter willing to cooperate with God as God began to expand the church and take it in new directions.
Never underestimate the value of one person being brought to a saving faith. The only reason you and I know about Ananias is because of his willing response to God resulted in the conversion of this one man, Saul, who became the apostle Paul.
This is a word to you and me who have, at one time or another, felt permanently condemned by something in our past, knowing with a certitude almost as hard-fast as Deuteronomy, that we don’t belong, that we have been permanently scarred or mutilated by something (or someone) unspeakable. Or, we know in our hearts it was us who did the unspeakable thing, and it can never be undone.
God working miracles through Philip drew the attention of a powerful sorcerer named Simon. He was the proud resident magician of Samaria, even considered by many people to be divine, and he had a wide and loyal following. But not, Simon was losing many of his followers to the gospel of Jesus Christ, so he came to investigate this new phenomenon.
I think, for me, this story means determining to see adversity and ordeals as opportunities to see the spiritual realm more clearly, and to expect God’s glory to be revealed in the moment, even in me. Growth is not the goal, it’s simply the side-effect. The goal is to incarnate Jesus, reveal Jesus, and to become ever closer to Jesus.
There appeared to be racial, or at least cultural, discrimination in the distribution of food.
Trouble came pounding, they prayed, and God answered powerfully with a fresh infilling of His Spirit.
In our lives today, you and I have to cope with much the same kinds of things that are in these chapters—meeting people’s needs, dealing with people who don’t like us or what we represent, who want to stand in the way, dealing with discord in our churches and relationships, dealing with lies, suffering, injustice, and personal injury. The list goes on.