READ: Acts 2:1-4, 8:14-17; 10:44-48, 11:15-18
- After centuries of believing they were the “people of God,” it was nearly impossible for Israel to accept that Gentiles might be included (in spite of the many Old Testament texts and stories that should have convinced them otherwise). Because of that long heritage and deep bias, it took special outpourings of the Spirit to arouse their attention and convince them that God had a bigger story to tell.
- In Acts 2 and 10/11, the Holy Spirit showed up through rather extreme manifestations like sounds of wind, appearances of fire and people speaking in languages they didn’t know. In both cases, Jerusalem and Caesarea, the Spirit’s presence “kicked open the door” for the gospel. In chapter 8, the story of Jesus was told and people “received Christ.” However, for some reason, there was no manifestation of the Spirit. Then, the Holy Spirit came through the laying on of hands.
- In every case, there is an affirmation of what God is up to. The Holy Spirit affirms that God is at work. He affirms that this or that group of people should hear the gospel and be received as believers. When God shows up, through the presence of His Spirit, we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s His way of telling us, “This is good; this is my plan.”
- Why do you think it’s so hard for people who know God to make room for those who don’t?
- Why are our biases so strong that they would interfere with the obvious desire of God to save all who are willing?
- Would you agree that one of the strongest affirmations of the Spirit’s presence is the change that occurs in people’s lives? If not, why not?
PRAY: Thank God for making it clear that His will should be done. Pray for a willing heart to listen to God’s directions. Ask Him to help you see and overcome your biases.