We have been on a several week journey through scripture leading us to our John 15 text this morning, which you may have noticed during these last few weeks. It is a journey about LOVE, but what does this love look like?
I have been teaching that Jesus was (and is) a radical teacher and our Acts of the Apostles readings have the disciples discerning how to keep Jesus’ radical teaching in their ‘new’ world after Jesus has returned (ascended) to heaven.
It is a challenge. It is the theme of the Acts of the Apostles.
The disciples struggle with the question ‘what does it mean to follow Christ’s teachings?’.
Last week, our scripture was Philip and the Eunuch. The Eunuch asked ‘what would keep me from being baptized?’, which essentially asked ‘what would keep me from joining your community of faith?’. The law-abiding Jews would have easily answered “you’re an eunuch” and eunuchs were not permitted to worship God in the Temple. But, thankfully Philip said “NOTHING! Lets baptize you”.
The concern is in our Acts of the Apostles’ scripture again today. There is still a debate throughout the Acts of the Apostles about ‘how Jewish must a covert have to become in order to follow Christ’.
Our scripture has the circumcised believers (those who were raised within the Jewish tradition/culture and the law) visiting the Gentiles. The term ‘Gentile’ is used because it is shorter than saying the ‘uncircumcised, pork-eating pagans’ or those who were not raised within the Jewish tradition/culture and the law. As Peter is preaching and teaching about Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit breaks into the room (which the Holy Spirit likes to do) and is poured out onto these Gentiles.
The disciples do not simply think ‘that is odd but it makes sense’. The disciples were amazed. The disciples were confused because how can the Holy Spirit be poured out onto THOSE people. Read the rest of this entry »