Who’s in the club?
I used to work for a guy who was part of a committee that ran a very posh golf club. There were many rules about who could join, what they had to wear, how they were to behave, etc. Perhaps it was a tradition, or an old charter or something (!!) but it didn’t seem very easy to become a member. I guess that was the point. In contrast, we have had some involvement with a little local cricket club. Everyone was welcome, regardless of background or ability, and it certainly didn’t matter what you were wearing. It was a lot of fun and we met some really lovely people. Nothing about the golf club made me want to join in, but I would have loved to have played cricket if I had the time.
One of the things that is fascinating about this week’s chapters in Acts is how the understanding of who God is continues to develop amongst the Apostles and how that shapes what they do. To some, it looks like Peter has broken the clubhouse rules and they criticise them for that. As Peter tells the story of his vision about food (by the way, this means we can eat bacon, prawns and other yummy stuff so I am very grateful for these verses!) and about how he was called to baptise Cornelius’ family they can see that the message of God’s salvation must be for all people and not just the Jews. This is huge news! It was literally challenging everything they knew about God.
What is even more exciting is what happens next. The Holy Spirit leads the believers, wherever they are, to take the Good News of Jesus to everyone they encounter. Barnabas goes from Jerusalem to Antioch to see what God has been doing. He realises he needs some backup and so goes to get Saul (yup, the artist formally known as “Murderous Saul” and soon to known as Paul”) and they spend a year there with the new believers teaching them about the God. There is nothing that can stand in God’s way. He even busts Peter out of prison!
Lord Jesus, forgive us for the times that we have excluded people from “our club” because they are not like us. Help us to show everyone we meet that You love them. Amen.
Are there people that you would not normally socialise with but who need to hear about Jesus? Perhaps you could make a list of people and pray for the Holy Spirit to create opportunities for you to talk to them and share a little of your own faith.