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Steven A. Bush - September 20, 2015
Since the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, the Gospel was spreading and the Church was growing. Stephen's stoning and subsequent attacks on believers helped disseminate the Good News throughout Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Philip's divine appointment with an Ethiopian Official was the first Gentile convert to The Way with more soon to follow. Then Peter has a vision. Three times Peter sees a celestial tablecloth coming down out of heaven full of unclean edibles--all forbidden by Jews for consumption. The visions come with this directive: "Rise, Peter, kill and eat." (Acts 10:12 ESV) While Peter wrestles with the word, a man named Cornelius also has an angelic visit. Cornelius is a Roman Centurion, a God-fearing Gentile, generous to the poor, and persistent in prayer. He's directed to send for Peter and hear what he has to say. The text leaves no doubt that both men are sovereignly being brought together. Peter goes to Cornelius' home in Caesarea and preaches the Gospel to a full house of Gentiles. His sermon isn't even finished and the Holy Spirit falls. The Gentiles experience their own Pentecost and Peter baptizes them, affirming that Jesus is not only the Hope of Israel but indeed the long-promised Light to the Gentiles. Whether or not they celebrated with lamb chops or pork chops is unknown, but from Cornelius' house began the Kingdom's advance to every nation, tribe, and tongue, even to the likes of us.