Daily Devotional

Today’s Scripture Reading

While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days. Acts 10:44-48 (New Revised Standard Version)

In churches that practice infant baptism, this passage may need some unpacking. We believe that the Holy Spirit is present in the sacrament itself, so yes, babies are baptized, too. What we’ve often lost sight of is that the Spirit is also present in adults who are baptized and even is present in those adults who grow in their faith, leading them to study of the faith and Word so that they then wish to be baptized. Some earlier followers of Peter’s teachings apparently questioned just how wide the Gospel would reach. Those who were of Jewish background (the circumcised) were astounded that the Spirit was evident in the Gentiles! The evidence was that the Gentile followers were speaking in tongues and extolling God! Incontrovertible evidence, we might say today. Our challenge today is to consider those grown folks who find the church later in life and wish to be baptized. Do they have to prove themselves worthy? Do they have to be active in the church and show evidence that they are followers of Jesus? Or can we, like Peter, say, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” In this care, let’s be like Peter. Amen.

© 2017   Peace United Church of Christ — Elkader