Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which is the church as it was written by the beloved physician in the book of Acts. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first thirty-three verses of the tenth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scriptures you will find the beginning of one of the greatest turning points within the history of the early church. As you come near and draw close to this passage you will find the stage being set for what would be one of the most pivotal moments in lD church history. It is in this passage where you will encounter and come face to face with the movement of the Holy Spirit in two distinct and two different places. Upon reading the words which are found within this passage of scripture you will find the beloved physician Luke taking the book of Acts and bringing it to a place where it confronts us with the beginning of the ultimate goal of the gospel. What’s more, is that when you come to the words which are found within this passage you will find yourself being confronted with the reality of the weight and magnitude of the great commission which Jesus the Christ had spoken and delivered unto the disciples atop the mountain where He had called them. Up to this point the gospel and the movement of the Spirit had been in the city of Jerusalem, as well as within the surrounding regions of Judaea and Samaria. Of course we know and understand that the entire reason the gospel spread into the regions round about and surrounding Jerusalem is because of the fact that a great persecution broke out against the church, thus forcing them to be scattered abroad beyond Jerusalem. Within the first seven chapters of the book of Acts we find ourselves encountering the reality that the movement of the Spirit and the gospel message was found within the city of Jerusalem alone, and had not transitioned or moved outside the city. It wouldn’t be until the eighth chapter where we come face to face with and encounter the incredible reality that persecution would cause the gospel to move beyond simply the city of Jerusalem, and would begin to do that which Jesus spoke of and intended it to do. If you recall the words which Jesus the Christ spoke you will quickly encounter the strong reality that He emphatically declared and called the disciples to be His witnesses unto all the nations, and to teach and baptize them in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the holy spiritual. What’s more, is when you come to the first and opening chapter of the book of Acts you will find Jesus the Christ instructing the saints and first believers to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high and they would be His witnesses—first in Jerusalem, then in Judaea, then in Samaria, and ultimately unto the ends of the world. Within the first chapter of the book of Acts we come face to face with the strong reality that the gospel was never intended on remaining within the city of Jerusalem—this despite the fact that Pentecost began in the city of Jerusalem in the upper room with one hundred and twenty men and women.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that what we find and what we read within the tenth chapter of the book of Acts is a truly wonderful and powerful picture of that which Jesus originally intended for the gospel, as well as the movement of the Spirit. What’s more, is that what we find and read within the verses of the tenth chapter would not only speak to the movement of the Spirit as He showed up and operated in two different places, but also how the Spirit would launch something that would completely and utterly challenge everything the apostles—and even the early church believed. That which we find in the tenth chapter of the book of Acts is a truly wonderful and powerful picture of the Holy Spirit moving within the heart of the apostle Peter in a vision he was given, as well as an angel of the Lord appearing unto a centurion by the name of Cornelius who lived and dwelt in Caesarea. The words and language we find within this chapter in the book of Acts is quite astonishing and remarkable, for what we find here is the Holy Spirit beginning to move beyond even Judaea and Samaria, and demonstrating His willingness to move and operate beyond that which was within the scope of the apostles and early church. As we read the words which are found and recorded within this passage of scripture we truly see that which the Holy Spirit desired to do on the day of Pentecost, for it would be what we find and what we see in this passage of scripture that demonstrates the willingness and desire of the Holy Spirit to take the power and presence of Himself and manifest it beyond the Jews alone, beyond Jerusalem, and even beyond Judaea and Samaria. BEYOND JERUSALEM! BEYOND THR JEWS! BEYOND THD COMFORT ZONE! BEYOND THE BORDERS! BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES. I absolutely love what I find and read in this chapter, for what we find within it is the Holy Spirit demonstrating and proving that He not only desires, but also wants to and is going to move beyond Jerusalem alone and beyond the preconceived borders and boundaries which were understood by the apostles, and even the early church. That which we find and read within this passage of scripture is truly remarkable and astonishing, for within this passage we find the powerful and wonderful demonstration of the reality that the Holy Spirit would and could not be confined and limited to Jerusalem, nor could and would He be confined and limited to the Jews alone, nor even Judaea and Samaria.
If there is one thing I absolutely love about that which is written and found within this passage of scripture it’s that it confronts is with the reality that the Holy Spirit can do whatever He wants to do, as well as the fact that He does not, cannot and will not move and operate within the borders and boundaries we think about and even expect and anticipate. What we find and what we read in this passage of scripture is a truly awesome and wonderful picture of the reality that just as Jesus declared and spoke of the Spirit unto Nicodemus—He blows and lives wherever He wants and desires. Just like the wind blows in any direction it does in fact blow, so also the Holy Spirit moves and operates in the direction that more often than not falls outside of our parameters—and even our comfort zones and preconceived realities. The words which are written and recorded in this passage of scripture are absolutely and incredibly wonderful and powerful, for they bring us to the point and place where we recognize and understand that the holy spiritual does not need, nor does He seek our permission and approval in order to do that which He desires. The Holy Spirit is not some musical presence or force, but is a living and eternal being with a mind, and He moves wherever He desires and does whatever He desires in our midst without ever needing to ask our permission. The account that is found and written within the tenth chapter of the book of Acts is perhaps one of the single greatest turning points and transitions within the history of the church, as well as within the movement of the Spirit—and even the propagation of the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ and the kingdom of heaven. I have previously written that there have been certain and specific turning points which were found within the first nine chapters of the book of Acts—events which heavily impacted the early church and that which would take place among the hearts and lives of the apostles, as well as within the hearts and lives of the early believers in Jesus the Christ. If and as you read the words which are found within the book of Acts you will eventually come to the seventh chapter of the book where you will find what is perhaps the first major turning point and transition within the history of the early church—namely, the martyrdom and death of Stephen who would be the church’s first martyr. When you come to the end of the seventh chapter you will find Stephen concluding the words which he spoke in the hearing and presence of the Sanhedrin, and His finding himself being completely ostracized and shut out by the Jews, by the religious leaders, and perhaps even by those who would dare accuse him of words he had never spoken. By the time the seventh chapter comes to a close we find Stephen being dragged outside the city of Jerusalem where he would be stoned to death by those whose hearts were hardened and those who could and would not hear with their ears the truth concerning Jesus the Christ, and even how the Jewish people had treated the prophets. Just before Stephen fell asleep as the beloved physician Luke wrote, we not only find him looking up to heaven and seeing the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father, but we also find him asking the living God not to lay the sin of his death to the charge of those which were before him. Just before he fell asleep and gave up the ghost he echoed and prayed similar words which Jesus prayed while on the cross, for just before Jesus gave up the ghost He cried out before and unto the Father asking Him to forgive them for they know not what they do.
The New Testament book of Acts is replete with various accounts which demonstrate truly wonderful and spectacular turning points and transitions within the history of the early church, and what we find at the conclusion and end of the seventh chapter is one such turning point and transition. It’s in the final verses of the seventh chapter where we find what would be the first major turning point in the history of the early church—namely, the death and martyrdom of Stephen—for it would be the death of Stephen that would trigger a secondary event that would also prove to be a turning point and transition within the history of the early church. As you come to and approach the eighth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will quickly encounter and come face to face with the fact that as a direct result of the death of Stephen the Jews—and perhaps even the religious leaders and religious system itself—were emboldened against and toward the early church and the followers of this way, for Luke writes and records how a great persecution broke out against the disciples and followers of the Lord, and how they were scattered within and throughout Judaea and Samaria. In the opening verses of the eighth chapter we find that as a direct result of the death of Stephen—and even Saul’s consent to his death—a great persecution would break out against the church, which would ultimately and inevitably scatter them throughout Judaea and Samaria. What’s more, is that this persecution which would break out against the early church would find itself leading to a third transition and turning point within the history of the early church. Upon continuing to read the opening verses of the eighth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that directly linked—not only to the death of Stephen, but also to the great persecution which broke out against the early church—was the rise and emergence of one who would champion and spearhead the persecution toward and against the church. In the opening verses of the eighth chapter you will find Saul consenting to the death of Stephen—and not only consenting to his death, but also unleashing and wreaking havoc and mayhem within, upon and against the church. Upon reading the opening verses of the eighth chapter of the book of Acts you will not only find a great persecution breaking out against the church, but you will also find this man named Saul wreaking havoc upon the early church, and even entering into houses and homes dragging men and women out of their own homes and committing them unto prison. The opening verses of the eighth chapter are absolutely and incredibly unique and intriguing, for within them we find two additional turning points that seem to be intrinsically linked and connected to the death of Stephen in the previous chapter. What began with the death of Stephen at the hands of the Jews and religious leaders would eventually culminate in a great persecution breaking out against the church within the city of Jerusalem, thus forcing the believers and followers of the way to be scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria. What’s more, is that this great persecution would be directly linked and connected to the actions of Saul of Tarsus who would unleash and wreak havoc against the early church and against the followers of the way. We dare not, we cannot and must not read the history of the early church and not come face to face with the tremendous and incredible reality that the early church experienced a number of key transitions and turning points within its history very early on in its history.
The more I read and the more I study the book of Acts the more I am directly and immediately confronted with the reality of turning points and transitions, and that which had a tremendous impact upon the early church and the early believers and followers of the way of Jesus the Christ. Within the first nine chapters of the book of Acts we not only encounter the turning point of martyrdom, but we also encounter the turning point of persecution, as well as the turning point of one named Saul who would wreak havoc upon the early church. THE TURNING POINT OF PERSECUTION! THE TURNING POINT OF MARTYRDOM! THE TURNING POINT OF SAUL! There is not a doubt in my mind that what we have within the opening nine chapters of the book of Acts are three distinct turning points, which—although they happened exclusively and specifically to the early church and to the followers of Jesus the Christ—continue to be manifested within and among the church within this generation. As we read the words which are written and recorded within the book of Acts we must recognize and come face to face with the reality that the early church would not only experience the turning point of persecution, but they would also experience the turning point of death and martyrdom, as Stephen would be dragged outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned to death by those whose hearts were hardened, and those who had stopped their ears to the words and message he was speaking unto them. We cannot afford to miss and lose sight of this incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of that which still takes place and still happens today in this generation. We would be incredibly naïve to not be aware of the persecution which still exists in the earth today toward and against the church—particularly in communist countries, and especially within Muslim countries. There are countries within and throughout the Middle East, and even within Asia where men and women are tremendously persecuted for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and where men and women can face imprisonment, intense suffering and torture, and even death for believing in and following Jesus the Christ. In recent years there has been perhaps no greater persecutor of the early church than ISIS, which is a radical Muslim extremist group that was born in Iraq and Syria. This particular extremist and radical group have been responsible for a number of deaths and martyrdoms within and among the early church, as they have killed a number of men and women by the sword, and even by firing squad where they have executed Christians point blank by standing behind them and shooting them. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss and lose sight of the awesome and incredible reality that persecution still continues toward and against the early church within this generation, and that as surely as there has been the power and presence of the Holy Spirit within the fabric and thread of the early church, there has been another thread that seems to have run parallel to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit—namely, persecution at the hands of those who have an intense and vehement hatred and animosity toward and against the church. In all reality, if you study the history of the church you will find that the two common threads and the two common fabrics that have been woven in the garment of the church have been the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, as well as that of persecution. I would dare say that we cannot truly talk about the power and presence of the Holy Spirit without also talking about the presence and power of persecution which continues to exist within and among the saints and followers of Jesus the Christ throughout the world—this despite the fact that we rarely see and experience persecution in our western world and in the Christianity we enjoy and experience here in the west.
With all of this being said, it is important to note that when you come to the tenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will come face to face with what I know and understand to be another turning point and transition within the history of the church. It is what is before us in the tenth chapter of the early church that we encounter a certain man in Caeseara called Cornelius, who was a centurion of the band called the Italian band. This Cornelius was a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, and which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. It is absolutely necessary and critical that we recognize and understand this, for at the very outset of the tenth chapter we find ourselves coming face to face—not with a Jewish leader, nor a Jewish elder, nor even a Jewish ruler, but rather a centurion in the Roman army and who was of the Italian band. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this reality, for what we find within this passage is not found within the midst of a Jewish household, nor even a Jewish family, but is found within the household of one who served in the Roman army. It would be very easy to overlook and miss this absolutely incredible reality, however, we must recognize and understand that if you turn and direct your attention back to the four gospels which were written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find Jesus Himself encountering a Roman centurion who begged and pleaded with him concerning his servant. In fact, there are different references within the four gospels to Jesus coming in contact with and encountering a Roman centurion who came unto him on behalf of his servant who lie at home sick and on the verge of death. The first record of Jesus’ encounter with the centurion is found within the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew and begins with the fifth verse of the chapter. Consider if you will that which is written and that which is found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the fifth verse of the chapter concerning the centurion who dared come near and approach Jesus—despite the fact that he was neither a Jew, nor had personal and intimate dealings with the Jews:
“And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, HE marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the easy and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matthew 8:5-13).
The words found and recorded within this particular passage of Scripture within the gospel of Matthew is the first encounter we have with this centurion who dared approach and dared draw near to Jesus—and this not even concerning himself or his own need, but in direct connection to the need of his servant. That which the apostle Matthew writes and records within this passage describes a centurion who dared enter into, and dared approach and draw near to Jesus because of his servant who lie at home sick of the palsy and grievously tormented. Oh, we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the awesome and incredible significance of what is found within this passage of Scripture, for within it we find the first account of this centurion daring to draw near and approach Jesus on behalf of his servant who lie at home sick of the palsy and grievously tormented. What’s more, is that within this passage we find the faith of this centurion so captivating and so impressing Jesus that not only did He marvel at the words which the centurion spoke and declared unto Him, but He also commended and praised him for it. Initially we find Jesus declaring unto the centurion that he was willing to come with him to the place where his servant lie sick and tormented, and yet the servant was unwilling to have Jesus enter into his house and come under his roof, for he was a man under authority and was a man in and with authority. This centurion knew and understood the power of authority—and not only the power of authority, but also the power and authority that is found within the word and command of one who does in fact have authority. He understood the tremendous weight his words would have in the ears, in the hearts and minds of those soldiers under him, as well as those servants under him, for he but only needed to speak a word unto them commanding them to do something and they would respond by doing it. This centurion took this understanding into the presence of Jesus and knew and understood that Jesus needed only speak the word concerning his servant, and his servant would be healed of the palsy and that which grievously tormented him. After Jesus marveled at the faith of this centurion and even praised and commended him for his faith, He then turned to the centurion and instructed him to go his way, and as he believed, so would it be done unto him. What we go on to find and read within this passage is that the servant of this centurion was healed in that selfsame hour. All because this centurion dared enter into the presence of Jesus the Christ, and recognized and understood authority and the power of an authoritative word, his servant found healing of that which tormented and oppressed him for quite some time. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that the servant of this centurion found healing simply because of the faith of his master, and the willingness of his master to enter into the presence of Jesus.
If you continue reading within the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will come to the gospel account which was written by the beloved physician Luke, and how Luke himself also wrote of an encounter Jesus the Christ had with the centurion. The account which Luke wrote was somewhat different from that which the apostle Matthew wrote, for the account of Luke included additional characters in the account of this centurion and his need for Jesus to demonstrate and manifest healing within the life of his servant. In fact, the beloved physician Luke writes of the same exact event which the apostle Matthew wrote about, however, that which Luke wrote contained additional details which we don’t find written within the gospel of Matthew. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will come to that which he wrote concerning Jesus’ encounter with this centurion—and not only with this centurion, but also with those who dared advocate for the centurion within and among the Jewish people. Consider if you will the words which the beloved physician Luke wrote concerning this encounter beginning with the first verse of the seventh chapter:
“Now when He had ended all His sayings in the audience of the people, He entered into Capernaum, and a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that he would come and heal his servants.k And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom He should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying unto Him, Lord, troubled not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things He marveled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick” (Luke 7:1-10).
Now you might be wondering why I would dare include and mention both of these accounts of Jesus’ interaction with the centurion, and the reason is actually quite simple. When I come to the tenth chapter of the book of Acts and read of Cornelius, and how he was a centurion of the band called the Italian band, and how he was a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, and which gave much alms to the people, and prayed unto God always, I can’t help but wonder if the man we read about in the tenth chapter of the book of Acts was not the same centurion whom we find and read about in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. What if the centurion whom we read about in the gospels written by the apostle Matthew and Luke—that centurion who doesn’t even have his name mentioned—is now presented again a third time in the book of Acts as the beginning of the demonstration and manifestation of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit within the hearts and lives of the Gentiles? Wouldn’t it be just like the living God, and just like the Holy Spirit to highlight this same centurion who had already encountered Jesus the Christ as He healed his servant, and is now highlighted by the Spirit again a third time—this time with additional words which were written concerning him. IN the tenth chapter of the book of Acts we of course learn the name of this centurion, and we understand this centurion to be of the band called the Italian band, but we also learn of his righteousness and piety in the sight and presence of the living and holy God. When we read the words which are found in the opening verses of the tenth chapter we not only learn the name of this centurion, but we also learn of his righteousness, his character and his integrity, for Luke writes how this centurion was a devout man, how he was one that feared God with all his house, how he gave much alms to the people, and how he prayed to God always. I have to admit that as I sit here this morning I can’t help but think to myself how absolutely astonishing and incredible it would be for the beloved physician Luke to write concerning this centurion when writing concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, yet choosing to write about him again in this second treatise—not concerning his encounter with Jesus the Christ, but rather his encounter with the Holy Spirit. The more I sit here this morning and think about and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, the more I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that it is possible that this centurion who previously experienced Jesus the Christ and His ability to heal his servant would now find himself in the presence of one of the apostles of Jesus the Christ, and would ultimately and inevitably experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. At the risk of getting ahead of myself for the next writing, I would present to you the reality that not only did Cornelius, but also his entire household encountered the person, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, as both he and his entire household would find themselves experiencing the Holy Spirit as they were not only filled by the Spirit, but were also baptized by the Spirit. What makes this so incredibly unique and intriguing is when you consider the fact that it is possible that on the one hand Jesus offered healing within the household of this centurion when he healed his servant of the palsy, and now Jesus offered something much greater and much different—namely, the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit which was the promise of the Father. Oh, I cannot help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the reality that this centurion might very well have found himself encountering Jesus and the healing power of Jesus when his servant lie sick of the palsy and on the verge of death, and now this same centurion—together with his entire household—would encounter the promise of the Father in the person of the Holy Spirit.
As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord working in two different places and within the lives of two different individuals, for on the one hand we find an angel of the Lord appearing unto Cornelius declaring unto him how his prayers and his alms are come up for a memorial before God. This same angel of the Lord would instruct and command him to send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter who was lodging with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side. It would be this Simon called Peter who would tell him what he ought to do. This is the first side of the movement of the Holy Spirit and the work of God in the lives of these two men, for although they were separated by distance, the same God was working in each of their lives. ON the one hand we find the living God sending an angel to encourage Cornelius concerning his prayers and alms, and how they had come up as a memorial before the living God, and on the other hand we find the Spirit speaking unto the apostle Peter through a vision of a great sheet being let down out of heaven from the four corners of the sheet with all kinds of four-footed beasts and birds and animals within the sheet. The vision of the sheet with all that was unclean within it would appear before the apostle Peter three times with the instruction and command to rise, kill and eat. This is quite astonishing and remarkable, for within this passage we find the Lord moving in two different and two distinct places. On the one hand we find the living God moving within the heart and life of Cornelius in Caeseara which was coincidentally where Saul of Tarsus was, but also in Joppa where the apostle Peter was lodging in the home of one Simon the tanner. I have to admit that I find that which is before us within this passage of Scripture truly astonishing and truly remarkable, for what we find within this passage is a truly wonderful and powerful picture of the movement of the Holy Spirit, and how the Holy Spirit can in fact move in two different places at the same time. What’s more, is that what we find within this passage is a truly remarkable demonstration of the reality that it was not only expedient, but also necessary for Jesus to depart from this world and return unto His Father, for so long as He remained within and upon the earth He was limited to time and space, as He could only be in one place at one time. If there is one thing this passage demonstrates, it’s the ability of the living God to work in the lives within different individuals who are in two totally different two totally separate places, as He not only speaks to them, but also orchestrates events and coordinates encounters according to the good pleasure and divine will of the Father. I absolutely love what is found and written within this passage of Scripture, for it wonderfully demonstrates the awesome and incredible reality of the Holy Spirit and the living God moving and working in two different and two distinct places to bring about the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
I wrote and mentioned how that which we find within this passage of Scripture is in fact another turning point and defining moment within the history of the early church, and it is necessary that we recognize and understand how this is so. Again—at the risk of getting ahead of myself—that which we find within this passage of Scripture is in fact a turning point and defining moment within the history of the early church because it is in this passage where we begin to encounter the Holy Spirit moving outside of Jerusalem, outside of Judaea and Samaria, and even outside the Jews. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand, it’s that most—if not all—of the first Christians were entirely Jewish, and there probably weren’t many who were present within the upper room, nor who even encountered and experienced the promise of the Father which was the Holy Spirit. What we have within this passage, however, is a wonderful presentation of the work of the Holy Spirit, and how the Holy Spirit was beginning to move and operate within the hearts and lives of Gentiles. The words which we find and read within this passage are indeed a turning point and defining moment, for within this passage we find the Holy Spirit no longer being poured out upon and experienced by Jews alone, but now the Holy Spirit was beginning to be experienced by Gentiles. What’s more, is that it is within this passage where we come to terms with the fact that the gospel, as well as the movement and ministry of the Holy Spirit was beginning to be manifested in the hearts and lives of Gentiles. By the time you come to the end of this chapter you will find a great council being established concerning the actions of Peter, as well as concerning the manifestation of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles. Ultimately and inevitably there was not a single one who could deny and dispute that the Holy Spirit had been manifested among Gentiles, and that the Holy Spirit had indeed been poured out upon and released among the Gentiles. It is within this passage of Scripture where we begin to see the Holy Spirit moving beyond the borders and boundaries of Jerusalem, beyond the borders and boundaries of Judaea and Samaria, and even beyond the borders and boundaries of the Jews themselves, and moving within the hearts and lives of Gentiles. Oh you and I need to read that which is found within this passage and find great encouragement and great hope in what is before us, for were it not for the movement of the Spirit among Gentiles we would not be in the place we are today. If there is one thing the words within this passage prove and demonstrate, it’s that the Holy Sprit ultimately and inevitably desired to manifest Himself, His power and His presence in the hearts and lives of Gentiles, and it is precisely because of that you and I are able to worship the living God, and even have and experience a relationship with Jesus the Christ through the person of the Holy Spirit. Just as the glory of God was never meant to remain beyond and behind the veil of the Temple and broke out when the veil was torn in two from top to bottom, so also was the person and presence of the Holy Spirit never meant to be main in the upper room, nor within the city of Jerusalem, nor even within and among the Jewish people. Oh how absolutely remarkable and astonishing it is to think about and consider this reality, for it is this very reality which brings us face to face with the incredible truth that the Holy Spirit desired to be manifested in the hearts and lives of Gentiles, thus demonstrating that the promise of the Father would be for all nations, for all languages, for all tribes, for all tongues, and for all people.