Reading through the Bible together
We are reminded of the power of a personal testimony in Acts 11, only two chapters after seeing the power of Paul’s conversion story in Acts 9. This chapter begins with Peter’s return to Jerusalem, where he was immediately denounced by fellow Jews for eating with Cornelius, a Gentile. Rather than argue, Peter simply spelled out in detail his vision about unclean meat (Acts 10). He concluded by telling the gathered “apostles and other brethren” that Jesus wanted the Holy Spirit to go to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews.
Angry hearts turned meek. The listeners quickly ditched their long-held prejudices against the Gentiles and “glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (verse 18). That’s the power of personal testimony! The apostles’ reaction is also a reminder that Peter’s vision did not end Old Testament dietary restrictions as some religious denominations teach today. If it had, the apostles would have “glorified God, saying, ‘Now we can eat all kinds of meat!’”
The chapter ends with the establishment of the first Christian development and relief agency. But instead of organizing the distribution of food to a disaster area as
the Adventist Disaster and Relief Agency (ADRA) does today, this organization in Antioch learned of a pending crisis in Judea through a given prophecy. So they prepared shipments of humanitarian aid: “Agabus stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea” (verses 28, 29).
How useful it would be if we could prepare for disasters ahead of time today.
“Dear God, I may not have a vision like Peter’s to share, but I understand the power of personal testimonies. Teach me to share my testimony more effectively so listeners will glorify You, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to [your name] repentance to life!’ Amen.”
Andrew McChesneyNews Editor of the Adventist Review