I wonder who would be your fantasy dinner guests.? If you could invite three people round for dinner for the evening who would it be? Obviously, we would all want Jesus (don’t feel bad if that is not the first person on your guest list) but who would be the other two guests? I think for me it would be Billy Bragg and David Gower. Now alongside Jesus, I think that would make for a very interesting evening.
Today we reached the end of chapter 10 all about unusual dinner guests. It is the story of a taboo changing, rule-breaking hospitality. The Apostle Peter has been convinced by God to ignore Jewish tradition and law, and accept the invitation of Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Peter is sharing the good news of Jesus with the crowd gathered in Cornelius’s home when something shocking happens.
Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues[b] and praising God.
Then Peter asked, “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterwards Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.
As we think about our street, college, or school all even the people I work with what would it look like for the story of Jesus to be shared and for Holy Spirit to come on people there. Lord, I ask for your disruptive presence in these places.
Acts 10 is the incredible story of God exploding the narrow vision of the early church and including everyone in the invitation to a new life in Jesus. It starts with the surprising request, followed by obedient acceptance and controversial hospitality which in turn, sparks an unprecedented move of God.
I wonder as we closeout this week how could our hospitality expand or possibly even break the boundaries of mission and invitation in my community.
Let us pray.
Thank you, Lord God, that Psalm 145 reminds me that, ‘the Lord is good to all, he has compassion on all he has made. Jesus, I confess I find it easier to extend hospitality to people like myself and I rarely look beyond the enjoyable and compatible to invite someone unexpected or even controversial. Explode my narrow vision and teach me the kind of hospitality that transforms lives. Amen