After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
Wow! These verses are packed with good stuff:
- God knows the heart (v.8)
- God makes no distinction between the Jews and non-Jews (v.9)
- God purifies our hearts with the Holy Spirit (v.9)
- The law has to go (v.10)
- We are saved ONLY through the grace of our Lord Jesus (v.11)
In making this statement, Peter is defending Paul for teaching and preaching to the Gentile population. What a perfect set up. Jesus knows Peter’s heart more than Peter knows it himself (and the same goes for me and you!). Jesus knew that Peter had to have a first-hand experience of God’s gift of grace to the Gentiles (Acts Ch. 10 – see 1/26/14 post titled “The Unspeakable”). Because of this experience of seeing God pour out His Spirit to the Gentiles, Peter is in a perfect position to defend Paul to the Pharisees. This could have been the end of Paul’s missionary trips and the spread of the Gospel but Jesus wouldn’t allow that to happen. How beautifully orchestrated.
We each are given the same direction in our lives ~ to spread the Good News of the Gospel and follow Jesus. It’s as simple as that ~ share the Good News!