In Acts 9, Paul learned that Jews could be Christians. In Acts 8, last week's lesson, Philip learned that Gentiles could be Christians.
In Acts 10, Peter, too, learned that Gentiles could be Christians. A messenger from God came to Cornelius, a Roman centurion. A Gentile, an enforcer of the occupation of Israel. Prompted by the Spirit, Peter was willing to break the law and eat with him.
In this week's passage, Peter's sermon to Gentiles is interrupted. We are told that the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening to him.
All. The ones who had already belonged. And the ones who had not. The old-timers were astounded that the newbies would be included.
How does your congregation react to the notion that the Holy Spirit may be reaching out to people who were raised with different beliefs from yours? Or, how would they react to the notion that the Holy Spirit speaks?
In Acts 2, The Holy Spirit fell on Jews from all lands (We'll read about this week after next). In Acts 8, the Holy Spirit fell on Samaritans (not-quite insiders but not completely different, either).
In this week's reading from Acts 10, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The insiders were astounded that outsiders were recipients.
Questions: Wouldn't the Holy Spirit fallen on them whether they had heard the word or not? Or, is hearing the word necessary for someone to be able to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit? How did the believers know that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on them--that is, was proof necessary?