“And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them." - Luke 9:5
At the beginning of chapter 11 Peter is taken to task by members of the “Circumcision Party,” a group of believers in Jerusalem who charge that he violated Jewish law by eating with “unclean” Gentiles. This reveals more fully the decision that Peter had faced on the rooftop in Joppa. God’s insistence that He has made all things clean not only contradicts everything that Peter had known about being in covenant with the LORD, but it would set him at odds with leaders within his own church. Already under persecution from the Jews, Peter was now threatened with exclusion from fellow believers.
He responds only with the obviousness of his experience. With no knowledge that the servants of Cornelius had already sent for him, he experienced the vision freeing him to go. With no knowledge of what would happen when he offered Cornelius’ household the gospel, Peter watched as the Spirit came upon them in the same way it had on Pentecost. Therefore he asks: “If then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
In chapter 12 violent persecution again erupts in Judea, this time from the hand of Herod Agrippa, whose uncle had condemned John the Baptist while ruler of Galilee. James is put to death, and when [Herod] saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. While he’s jailed, Luke goes to lengths to explain how well-guarded Peter was. This says as much about Herod as it does about the miracle to come.
Early on we’re introduced to the strong church in Antioch, where the disciples were first called ‘Christians,’ and in chapter 13 the Holy Spirit tells them to “set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” This is really the beginning of a new chapter in Acts: the story from here on focuses almost exclusively on Paul’s journeys. Today you’ll read his first great sermon, in the synagogue at Pisidia, which sounds a lot like Peter’s grand entrance in Jerusalem.
Our verse for this week is Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.
Acts 11 through 13. Now let’s read it!
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,