Ask any pastor and they’ll tell you the same story. It’s not uncommon for people to come up to us after service and tell us how they really appreciated it when we said “such and such” a thing. We smile and nod, but we never said it—or if we did say it, it totally wasn’t our point. Somewhere along the way, the Holy Spirit hijacked our message and took our listeners another route.
Peter was likely jarred when the Holy Spirit hijacked his message. There he was, explaining the gospel to people he never thought he’d be explaining the gospel to. Peter never prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, nor did he lay hands on them, nor would he have probably ever thought to do so. He was just preaching when suddenly the Holy Spirt filled up the non-Jewish people in front of him and they began to speak in tongues.
Many want the Holy Spirit in their churches, but on their own terms. They try to quote the Bible, telling God to do things that are “decent and in order.” But when Paul made that statement, he more meant that the Holy Spirit tends to do so many crazy things when he shows up, that we should do our best to make sure we don’t let ourselves spiral into chaos. I’m sure to Peter, his interrupted dinner looked like chaos, both experientially and theologically. But it was order to the Holy Spirit regardless of what it looked like to him. Peter would leave that meal never able to see the world the same way again.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 10:33-48 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.