Sermon 4 of 6
Sixth Sabbath of Easter
When you read the story of Jewish Peter being invited into the home of Gentile Cornelius, it’s easy to miss how scandalous this encounter was for a Jewish person at this time in their history. Cornelius worked for the Roman occupying power. Cornelius wasn’t circumcised. Cornelius ate pork. Cornelius was pagan. For Peter to go into the home of Cornelius, he was choosing to breach all sorts of etiquette. But what Peter discovers once he gets inside is that everyone in Cornelius’ family is exhibiting the same behavior that the Jewish Christians experienced when the Holy Spirit came into their lives. Peter and those with him were jaw-dropping shocked. But to their credit, when they saw the evidence of God’s Spirit, they honored it and welcomed Cornelius and his family as brothers and sisters in Jesus.
In my comments this week, I ask: Who are the people that we would be surprised about if we found out they had God’s Spirit in them? And is the story of Peter’s interaction with Cornelius a call to start expecting the Spirit to show up in a greater and greater variety of people? Do we need to get over our surprise at God’s generosity with the Spirit?