To Follow Jesus
My (Shayne McCusker) notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
September/October 2014 Issue – ‘Property of Jesus’
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Acts 11:1-18 (NIV-UK): “The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticised him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.’
Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds.
Then I heard a voice telling me, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” I replied, “Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” The voice spoke from heaven a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.
He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, “Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.”
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”
So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?’
When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.’”
The above verses cover a story that is well known to many of us. It is interesting, as Selwyn mentions in today’s study, that the truth of God’s salvation being available to all peoples, races and cultures; was not totally revealed to Peter, and the other apostles, at Pentecost.
It is a further example to me, of God’s sovereignty – He reveals truth to the right people at the right time – in accordance with His will.
Selwyn writes: “Today, is the last day of our meditations on the brand marks of Jesus. Perhaps, over the past two months, as we have talked about being branded with Jesus’ characteristics in order to show the world we belong to Him; you have questioned the absoluteness of the deliverance depicted in these studies.
Sometimes deliverance is gradual. This is due not to any deficiency on God’s part. … Peter on the Day of Pentecost, had many inadequacies burned out of him as the fire of the Holy Spirit fell, but some things still lingered – religious/racial prejudice, for example.
Often there is a little mopping up to be done even after the citadel has been captured by Jesus. A preacher once referred to the areas of resistance that remain as ‘the dying kicks of evil habits’. But don’t be discouraged – the kicks are dying kicks.
You have asked God to brand you with the marks of Jesus – now believe that you have received (or, are in the process of receiving) all that you have asked for. And, if there are some ‘dying kicks’, then remember that you belong not to a defeated yesterday, but to a victorious present.”
I’ve quoted a lot of what Selwyn has written today, to reinforce the truth that our transformation into the likeness of Jesus, is a life-long process.
Yet, we must always keep in the fore-front of our mind, these words from Philippians 1:4-6 (UKNIV): “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Our branding of the marks of Jesus, is in the hands of God – He will complete the good work that He has started in you – nothing can stand in His way; not even our frail human nature!
Any comments, on this journey we have had together, over the past two months?