Peter Opened his Mouth

I’ve been reading Acts the past few days and really looking at them more and more in a modern light, like, “Hey, that could be our church.”

I read something that really struck me as it never had before, in Acts 10. In this chapter is the account of Peter having the vision while staying with the tanner in Joppa…the vision that prepares Peter’s heart for his encounter with Cornelius. Very cool. Read it sometime.

Meanwhile, in Caesarea, Cornelius – a centurion and a man who feared God – had a vision as well. He had been fasting, when an angel came to him in a vision and told him to find Peter and exactly where to find him, etc. And he says of Peter, “He will tell you what you must do.”

Back in Joppa, while Peter was still mulling over the vision he had, the Holy Spirit told him that three men were going to be coming to the house looking for him (Cornelius’s men) and he should go with them, doubting nothing because God has sent them.

*knock knock knock*

The men come, he goes with them, he meets Cornelius (whose faith and anticipation were so great, he had gathered his whole family and close friends to hear what Peter would have to say…NOT KNOWING what it would be. He just knew it was gonna be good).

So Cornelius says to Peter, (essentially) “Here’s the deal. God told me to have you come here and speak to me. I sent for you. You came. So what do you have to say to me?”

*SCREEEEE!* Put the breaks on…back up. Huh? YOU called ME here. Nobody told me the theme of your little Gentile Family Conference. I didn’t even know until a few days ago that I was meant to preach. And now you want me to just tell you something? Just come up with something on the spot?

But the cool thing about Peter (and, consequently, about the Holy Spirit who was IN Peter – and who’s in you, if you’re saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit) is that he just opened his mouth…

and the words came out.

I think it’s really cool that the verse doesn’t say, “Then Peter said…” No, it says, “Then Peter opened his mouth and said…” That indicates to me that he didn’t necessarily know what he was going to say before he opened his mouth. But the Holy Spirit gave him the words to speak and the eloquence to convey those words well. I think it went down a bit like this:

TRUE STORY: I was in a musical play in college wherein the opener was (of course) a big musical number, and the first spoken lines after that were mine. I was a narrator in the show and had to come out IMMEDIATELY after the opening number, which I was also in, walk to front-center stage and let ‘er rip. The only problem is that when we finished the song, I couldn’t for the LIFE of me remember my first line! I completely freaked out, which of course made things worse. I was running around backstage asking everyone from the actors to the stage hands if they had a script handy. NO ONE did, of course. So I had to walk out right then with NOTHING to say. The only thought in my completely panicked brain was, “Ad lib…just ad lib.” Of course I knew it would make a train wreck out of the show…I just didn’t know what to do! So I went out to the very edge of center stage, opened my mouth, and suddenly AS I BEGAN TO BREATHE THE FIRST WORD OUT, it turned into my first line. No hesitation. You would’ve never known (unless you were ANYONE backstage) that I’d forgotten my line. It just fell out of my mouth. (THANK GOD!)

I believe it was at least somewhat like that with Peter (but without the panic). He just had faith and confidence in God and knew that the Holy Spirit would give him the words, because he just walked daily in the Spirit. Everything he did reflected this faith and confidence. And we know that the words he spoke to Cornelius and his family and friends were the perfect words that day, because ALL of them were baptized in the Holy Spirit – receiving that same power from on high that Peter and the other disciples had received in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Wow. If that doesn’t bolster your faith, I don’t know what will. Let the Holy Spirit lead you and do everything in Love and you won’t fail…you can’t! God won’t let His words fall to the ground.


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