The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Acts 11:1-18 a theological crisis arose in the fledgling Church. Some people with a strong Jewish background began teaching that it was necessary to be circumcised in order to be a Christian. Circumcision, of course, was the sign of the covenant with Abraham. The demand was that all Christians must adhere to Jewish law.
The timing of this controversy is not accidental. It happened right after Peter spent time at Cornelius’ house and then went to Jerusalem. We can only assume that Peter had been telling the other apostles what had happened with Cornelius and his household. It’s perfectly normal to give a report of our activities when we gather with our friends.
In response to this teaching, that Christians needed to submit to circumcision, Peter explained the vision he had seen in Joppa. The voice was from God. It made it clear to him that God had proclaimed what was unclean to be clean. It was also clear to Peter that he was to go with the people who came to him, the people from the house of Cornelius, an unclean Gentile who lived in an unclean household.
The controversy of legalism remains with us. We frequently hear demands which go beyond trusting Jesus and receiving his forgiveness. We hear of demands of the Law being treated as if they are matters of Gospel. May we steadfastly resist, as did Peter. Salvation is for Cornelius and his household as well.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.