Daily Readings & Thought for November 1st. “EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM”
All 3 chapters today are both exciting and challenging, but there is a very fundamental point in our Acts reading (ch. 10) from Peter’s words in Caesarea, when he is caused by God’s Spirit he is caused to travel there after receiving a strange vision on the rooftop of a house in Joppa.
Peter is greatly surprised that the Spirit has directed him to go there to a home of a Gentile. He finds the centurion and Cornelius together with his relatives and close friends are gathered to greet him. His astonishment is greatest when the Holy Spirit falls on his Gentile listeners, most, or maybe all Romans! After he had testified to them about the teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, Holy Spirit power comes upon the hearers and they talk in other languages. Peter and those with him from Joppa “hear them “speaking in tongues and extolling God.” [v.46]
The bestowal of divine power was a key factor in the start of the spread of the gospel outside the Jewish nation. It is most intriguing to consider the testimony to Christianity among Roman historians, especially Tacitus, this shows that belief in Jesus and following him was so strong in Roman about 30 years later that the Emporer Nero put hundreds of them to death.
Recall the involvement of several Roman Centurions with Jesus and the way some of them responded to Jesus and his healing power. There is an unrecorded story here that will only be made known at the resurrection.
All too few verses summarize Peter’s words to Cornelius, but the last verse (43) is especially productive of deep thought – if we think about its precise phraseology. “To him (Jesus)” Peter said, “all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
It is far more that knowing about Jesus and accepting what you learn as true. Nor is it simply arriving at a correct understanding of his message! In short – it is far more than “head knowledge.” The word “in” indicates a real relationship is essential. Do you believe IN Jesus?