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* - Teaching a great Sabbath School lesson - *
Have you ever realised that one of your preconceived ideas was wrong? Did it happen quickly or over time?
** Continued from Three Visions yesterday **
After sharing their vision stories, Peter explained the good news of Jesus, “The Son of God walked upon the earth doing good, healing the sick, casting out demons and was then killed on a tree by the very people He came to help. But God raised Him up! We saw Him! Lots of people did. He told us to tell His story and preach this message: Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead!”
Before he had finished his testimony, Peter was interrupted by the voices of Cornelius and his family. They were proclaiming, in other languages, the greatness of God. The Jewish Christians with Peter were astounded because the Holy Spirit had filled these people before they were even baptised.
It’s almost as if Jesus couldn’t wait for Peter to finish the story. “I want to fill these people with my Spirit! I want them to know the fullness of my presence!” Jesus sends His Holy Spirit - often - to people, places and unexpected spaces because He knows the heart of each.
If you are part of the unholy rabble discounted by the people who claim to be ‘sent’ to save you, don’t worry about them. God’s Spirit will bring them around. You just follow where He’s leading!
If you are part of the ‘sent’ who never dabble with the unclean, it’s time for you to head to Cornelius’ house. And remember the vision… it’s going to get interesting once that door opens!
Peter can’t help himself, when he hears and sees the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in Cornelius and his family, he shouts, “Get me some water! You’ve seen what the Holy Spirit just did! We’re getting behind!”
Peter joyfully baptised Cornelius and everyone in his household that very day. Faith is a family event - relational in purpose and practice. Clearly, Cornelius had not been keeping his faith to himself but was bringing up his children in the ways of God. They were ready to be made disciples of Jesus that day because of the faithful leadership at home of their father.
This story has been used by Christians over the centuries for all manner of things: To prove all food is clean. To justify infant baptism. To decry slavery. To support house-church movements.
And yet, its original and intentional message is often overlooked: Humble yourself. There are those whom God is ready to use and He needs you to tell His story without showing judgment of people’s past, prestige or pedigree.
Get up! (out of your pious pew)
Kill (your righteous pride)
Eat (with whomever will listen)
What God has made clean, you must not call unworthy.
Hurry, they are awaiting your arrival.
Beware, the Holy Spirit is excited.
Prepare, your story is His story!
Sabbath School Lesson - 2016, Q1L9