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“Perchance is anyone able to refuse water to baptize these who have received the Holy Spirit just as we also have?”


“Is it possible that anyone is able to deny the opportunity to be baptized to these who have received the Holy Spirit with the same evidence of His presence that we experienced?”


From what I see in Acts chapter 2, Peter did not speak in tongues on Pentecost, rather he gave a type of interpretation of the message for the sake of the Jewish doubters. You may also recall that Peter’s response to those accusing Peter’s companions of drunkenness was communicated in the third person, “these are not drunk as you imagine.” Not “we” but “these,” meaning “they.” Yet at the house of Cornelius, he included himself in the statement “as we also have.” Peter was rightly able to include himself because he was involved in the process by which God reached out to people who needed special help grasping the message of salvation.


In this instance, Peter and the Jewish Christians with him were the “doubters” in one specific way. They did not believe that God wanted to treat the Gentiles the same as the Jews. God used the miracle of unknown tongues to communicate His message of salvation to some present who would have trouble understanding it any other way because of a language barrier, and He used the interpretation of the message to convince the hard-hearted Jews present that He really did accept Gentiles as freely as He did Jews.

It is interesting that the message to the ones who did not understand the common language of koine Greek, was communicated by those who had given their lives to Jesus instants earlier, not by Peter. This was probably because Peter did not want that to happen, or did not want it badly enough. On the day of Pentecost, he had preached to many who were converts to Judaism, but that was different. These were outright Gentiles. He went to the house of Cornelius because God convinced him, and he preached to Cornelius and the other Gentiles present because it was hard not to. But he did not have a burning desire, a burden, for Gentiles, much less for Gentiles who were so far removed from him that he couldn’t even communicate with them effectively. They were the most Gentile of the Gentiles.

But those who gave their lives to Jesus immediately sensed the burden of guilt lift from their shoulders and the next thought was for the family and friends gathered there who were less likely to believe because of a language barrier. Unlike Peter, these brand-new believers were given a burden by God for the most Gentile of all Gentiles. Then God gave them the gift of grace which enabled them to communicate across that language barrier and not just in a bare-minimum way; they communicated heart to heart in the most effective way possible.


Do I live as if God really does care about everyone equally?

How hard does God have to work to convince me to accept those who are very different from me?

How difficult is it for me to give of my time, energy or money to those who are different from me?