Sometimes we can receive startling news about a well-known church leader. We hear that he has adopted a new idea or changed his mind about a practice that he once held. For some who speak about it, their comments are little more than gossip, but for others, the comments are expressions of genuine concern in case the individual is making a great mistake.
Something similar happened in the church in Jerusalem when the news filtered through regarding what Peter, one of its most important leaders, had done during his preaching tour which had included an unexpected invitation to speak in the home of a Gentile soldier in Caesarea. We can imagine the comments. ‘I never thought Peter would do that.’ ‘It was a mistake to let him away on his own.’ ‘Why did he not wait for another person from the church in Jerusalem to join him before he went off to Caesarea?’ Peter had done something there that was causing repercussions in Jerusalem.
We have an advantage that the people in Jerusalem did not possess at that time. The advantage is that we have a bigger picture regarding the situation. We know the difference that a bigger picture can make. Imagine a photograph of a well-dressed couple. A bigger picture tells us that they are with a group of well-dressed people. An even bigger picture reveals that they are at a wedding, and an even bigger picture will show which wedding they attended.
When we read incidents in the Book of Acts, which type of picture are we using? If we don’t have a big enough picture, we will not understand what is going on. It is essential that our picture is big enough to include the most important fact that the One who is responsible for what went on in Caesarea and what is going on in Jerusalem is Jesus. Sure, there were other secondary contributors and factors, but if our picture stops at them we will misunderstand the developments. So over the next three readings, as we look at what took place in this incident in Jerusalem, bear in mind that King Jesus is the Mover and Shaker here.