Illustration From Lyman Abbott's
Commentary on Acts
TO CHEW ON: "When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.'" - Acts 11:18
Contrast the reaction of the Judean apostles and brothers, above, with how they initially acted when Peter arrived: "... those of the circumcision contended with him" - Acts 11:1.
[To contend is a pretty strong activity. It means to strive in competition, to argue earnestly, to dispute, debate, struggle, fight (Funk & Wagnalls College Dictionary)]
Now they were silent, then began glorifying God. What made the difference?
- the miraculous meshing of Peter's vision (Acts 10:9-16, his retelling in Acts 11:5-10)
- with the request of the Gentile centurion Cornelius that was also sparked by a vision (Acts 10:1-8, Peter's retelling Acts 11:13,14),
- and the Holy Spirit falling on the Gentiles just as He had on the Jews (Acts 10:44-48, retold in Acts 11:15,16).
In other words, God broke through ordinary events in a miraculous way.
These sorts of miracles still happen today. My friend told the story of her Iranian relative who was attempting to gain entrance to another country on the grounds of her Christian faith. The night before her hearing she couldn't sleep but had the strong impression she was to read a certain passage of Scripture. The next day at the hearing the examiner questioned her on exactly what she had read.
Such occurrences, recounted in the Bible or experienced by us or our acquaintances can have the same effect on us as this miraculous chain of events had on Peter and his listeners. Our contentions, arguments and doubts—about God's existence, His character, His knowledge and acceptance of us—are silenced. Then we glorify God who is at work in our lives and the lives of those around us.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for being the same miracle-working God today as You were in Bible times. May such stories increase my faith even as I make them one more reason to glorify You. Amen.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.