The Gentiles Receive The Holy Spirit: Acts 10:44-48
“44) While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45) All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46) For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47) “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48) And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.” Acts‬ ‭10‬:‭44‬-‭48‬
It was much harder for God to get Peter and his Jewish associates to preach the gospel to the Gentiles than it was for God to gloriously save them upon hearing the gospel. The text says, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.” Notice the gospel had to be preached and received.
There was no doubt that they were born-again of the Holy Spirit. Why? The gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon them. God did the exact same thing to Cornelius and the Gentiles as He did to the 120 Jewish followers on the day of Pentecost. They were hearing them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. This was like a Gentile Pentecost.
The end result was that Peter ordered them to be baptized because it was evident that they had become believers. Then Peter and his comrades stayed on for a few days with their new brothers and sisters in Christ.
Ironically, they had no inhibition with them speaking in tongues. That was confirmation that they had become Spirit-filled believers. Their inhibition was that they were Gentiles. It was most likely an awkward few days trying to figure out how to dine with Gentiles.
It wasn’t until Paul came along several years later and hammered out the revelation of the body of Christ in Ephesians 2:11-23 that the bride of Christ started to harmonizing and accepting one another. Persecution also gave ample opportunity for the Gentile Christians to accept and love their Jewish counterparts. God used the fire of persecution to forge them together.
I’m sure this text leaves some people uncomfortable and full of questions, especially about speaking in tongues. Welcome to the Bible. It is full of mysteries for every sincere theologian! There are numerous things I do not understand, but I have learned to not criticize, reject or nullify things clearly talked about in the Bible.
The big crisis today in the body Christ is the Pentecostal/Evangelical divide. The big crisis in the early church was the Jew/Gentile divide. I’ve come to the place of receiving and loving all believers that know and love Jesus Christ and show the fruits that accompany genuine salvation. It’s saving faith in Jesus Christ that places a person in the body of Christ. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
The big challenge has always been getting the body of Christ to accept and love each other. The only standard should be acceptance or rejection of the Jesus Christ and the gospel. This is always accompanied by the inner sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit producing a new life of obedience to the Word and personal holiness. If there is no change there is no salvation. It’s that simple.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global