Gentiles, that is, non-Jews, were excluded from the company of Jews. However, the Holy Spirit made it crystal-clear to Peter that he was to enter Cornelius’ house (Acts 11:5ff; 11:12).
The Spirit hadn’t yet instructed Peter what to say to the assembled Gentiles. So Peter “proceeded to address them” with a standard witness to the risen Lord (Acts 10:34ff). Then Peter brought up the subject of sin (Acts 10:43). Based on his previous preaching in Acts, it’s quite possible that Peter’s next words would have involved accountability for sin and the need for deep repentance. Theologically this makes good sense, but the Holy Spirit had a different subject in mind, for the Spirit took over from Peter. “Peter had not finished these words” about forgiveness of sins “when the Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter’s message” (Acts 10:44). Although Peter’s Jewish Christian companions were surprised at this turn of events (Acts 10:45), Peter followed “the Spirit’s lead” perfectly (Gal 5:25). Rather than trying to take the floor back from the Holy Spirit and finish his sermon, Peter “gave orders that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:48).
Let us hear the voice of Jesus (Jn 10:16) and thereby learn the voice of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what is the right word at the right time (see e.g. 1 Cor 2:10ff). Like Peter, let us “live by the Spirit” and “follow the Spirit’s lead” (Gal 5:25).
Prayer: Father, I will serve You not by my own intelligence or wisdom, but by Your Spirit (Zec 4:6).
Promise: “I am the Good Shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me.” —Jn 10:14
Praise: Mary and Louis have six children and are home-schooling them, teaching them the Catholic faith in love and truth.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.) Presentation Ministries is a lay apostolate based in Cincinnati, OH.