There is much debate as to what is happening here with the choosing of an replacement disciple and why it didn't stick. Perhaps they are ahead of the Spirit here. They were to wait for the receiving of the Holy Spirit, yet, they were already attempting to make decisions. Looks like they had thought this through, made it to appear to themselves that they were being spiritual, narrow God down to two choices, and use a spiritual method - casting lots to win God's final answer. God had other plans. No doubt the two were excellent men and well qualified but, that was not the issue. We can easily fool ourselves into this situation as well. Is it by our means or by His?
Cornelius and then Peter are now redirected by God. One by a voice the other by a vision, the vision being confirmed later by the voice. Notice that the meaning of the vision is still unknown to Peter and Cornelius certainly doesn't even know about it either. God produced a desire to pursue an eventual answer, created a means outside of Peters own construction to deliver it, and is insisting first and foremost on the trust and obedience of both men to reach the further knowledge.
By my count this is the second cross over to the gentiles. The first to the Samaritans that had believed but had not yet received the Spirit. This time the non-Hebrew gentiles in Caesarean were moved to inquire, Peter came and testified, they believed, the Spirit immediately fell upon them, later they were baptized.
It is clear that when God reveals such a massive addition to the faith HE does not put every apostle immediately into the loop; the matter was not conferred upon then implemented. It was implemented because of the way God brought it forth outside of the constructs of either man. Then it was conferred upon by the greater whole.
It appears that the Spirit did not directly have to tell them to send relief, they were able to determine that themselves. Perhaps He had impressed upon them, perhaps He had developed the desire in their hearts, but, the decision to do it was theirs.
Gathering together, fasting and prayer; from this stance the Holy Spirit was able to move them in the directions He saw fit. He could have told Saul and Barnabas individually "go" to the same effect. He is dealing with the Church as a body however, beginning to promote it's many gifts and unity. The work and testimony of the Church is much like the work and testimony of OT Israel, they stand together and they fall together. He is thinking in terms of Kingdom and not rugged pioneering individuals. We often fail to listen to the Spirit because we are expecting Him to move us outside/independently of the body. Not many of us would be willing to listen to Him if he decided to speak through another so called prophet or a conference of prophets.
This was the work of the Spirit not Paul. Not simply because of being called, not simply because of having hands laid upon by the elders, but by being filled with the Holly Spirit. The Spirit is not at our beck and call, we are at His. Being filled is being surrendered to, hungering/thirsting/being meek/being poor in spirit/presenting ourselves a living sacrifice/being faithful in the little things so that larger things can be done. In other words submitting to Christ's present tense Lordship.
Are all people ordained to eternal life? We tend to think that we come to believe on our own and that this belief ordains us to eternal life. This verse and others seem suggest that because we are first ordained we believe. Is this to say that others are not ordained and therefore do not believe? Does this mean that one could be ordained but still not believe? We need to read much further before jumping to conclusions.
I am not sure that we've seen healing framed this way since the healings done by Jesus; on the perception of ones faith. Seems Peter was walking by, or that others brought the sick out into the street. I better go back and look.
Paul received a miraculous healing after this stoning to leave the next day. The disciples here are the vehicle for the healing. Apostolic healing has made a way for the church to proclaim the gospel. Disciple healing is maintaining the body of believers. There is a well quoted healing that Paul doesn't receive latter.
Paul identifies three "pillars" of the early church James (Jesus' brother), John, Peter kjv@Galatians:2:9. Modern Catholics identify only one: Peter. It is James here that delivers the group's verdict. John is either silent or absent. Paul is portrayed once again as serving the church under their authority (even when he has disagreement). I have no doubt that the Spirit was sought for this momentous decision but is not quoted. There is plenty of OT text regarding the inclusion of gentiles, but not mandatory circumcision of them. The decision is based then upon the consistency of the doctrine of saving grace.
The report of trusted others is extremely important. How is such a report made of us if we are not connected. The Lone Ranger approach to ministry is not the approach Timothy pursued. The same could be said of Paul. In his position he had to develop and sustain relationships of confidence with many people enough to trust their recommendations.
The book of Acts is really about the acts of the Holy Spirit as much as the acts of the Apostles. Here we see the Spirit closing one door and opening another; men doing as they were led. The organization by the Spirit has given them decrees to declare, the men by the Spirit are being directed where to declare. There is both order and authority.
I have heard it said amongst our opposition "never defend; attack". We have seen throughout the scriptures the strategy of stirring up the citizens and authorities against us. Not arguing the facts on their merit, not reasoning alternate interpretation, but inciting crowds into frenzies. Now days we are labeled bigots, the Bible hate speech, our political rights to be separated and restrained. You do see the heart of the enemies of the Lord, do you not?
This excellent opportunity to preach came about in a time when most of us would have been content just to wait. But Paul was stirred by the city's idolatry and he went into the synagog and from there was invited to Mars Hill before the philosophers. His argument essentially was why worship in ignorance when you can worship in the knowledge and truth?
The acts of the Holy Spirit continue. Guiding the messengers, convicting/thwarting the opposition, gathering like minded in fellowship and ministry, expounding more fully, protecting the message bearers even in the hostile dispersions.
Belief in Jesus always comes and is confessed before any baptism. Many scholars feel that the Spirit comes to all believers upon belief and that this hands on account of transference refers to the particular spiritual gifting of tongues and prophecy specific to these twelve Ephesians. Others are convinced that this can be understood as first a general receiving of the Holy Spirit we've all received upon belief and then an addition baptism of the Holy Spirit that is received by the laying on of hands. The question then becomes what would happen to a secluded community of new believers that have not oppurtunity to receive hands from one that has.
The Acts of the Spirit continue. Leading certain people together. Bringing tongues and prophecy. Enabling individuals to dispute and persuade. Special uncommon gifts are providing widespread results in Asia. We also see other competing interests trying to emulate these gifts or perform them in the old covenant way and how ineffective they are in the face of the demonic. The Word is spread all the more. We read of what Paul is doing during this time but, surely there is much going on around him emanating from the community of spirit-filled believers surrounding him.
As is so often seen public uprisings break past the containment of civic law and common sense. It is a sight into the heart of evil itself to see the dynamics of the stirred/inflamed mass. The flame may start with one man but, that one man seeks others and then many others get swept along. Paul is wisely kept away from the scene.
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