There is a lot of work for insiders (church insiders) to do once the Spirit reveals certain truths to them.
Peter knew how his apostle colleagues thought. He had a pretty good idea of how they would react. He knew that he would need to explain to them what his experiences were, how God had led him to the point of open fellowship with Gentiles.
Although we are brought into the circle of believers through God’s inclusive love, how easy it is for that circle to become exclusive and to deny God’s acceptance of and for others.
Help us to accept each other as Christ accepted us.
Teach us as sister brother, each person to embrace.
Be present, Lord, among us, and help us to believe
We are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.
Fred Kaan, 1929-2009
If we go back to the persecution the church endured, so that we read in 8:1- “.all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria.”
So as it would happen centuries later with Caribbean Methodism, it was the lay apostles who took the church farther afield. Devout believers who were scattered took the word with them and although “they spoke the word to none except Jews”(11:19 c) among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord” (11;20-21).
Do not leave anyone out. Everyone has someone with whom he/she can better identify, and for every would-be believer, God has the right would-be proclaimer.
Whosoever heareth! Shout, shout the sound;
Send the blessed tidings all the world around;
Spread the joyful news wherever man is found;
Whosoever will may come.
Philipp Bliss, 1838-76