I would imagine that many teachers, preachers and evangelists have read this account of Peter preaching the good news at Corneliusís house, and marvelled at the way the Holy Spirit falls on the listeners before Peter has even managed to finish speaking!
We have seen how the Spirit fell on the disciples at Pentecost and, yesterday, we read how Peter and the apostles laid hands on believers in Samaria so that they would receive the Hoy Spirit. So far, the Holy Spirit has been poured out only on Jewish believers.
Peter has come to Corneliusís home after a vision from the Lord persuaded him that the good news of Jesus was for Gentiles as well as Jews. Would he have laid hands on the Gentiles here, as had happened at Samaria? We cannot know, but we do know that the Jewish believers clearly werenít expecting the Spirit to be poured out on these Gentiles. God had his own plans, the Spirit fell, and soon they were speaking in tongues just as the disciples had done at Pentecost.
The Jewish believers could have reacted in a number of ways to these Gentiles receiving a gift which they thought had only been reserved for them. They could have refused to believe it, or resented it, or ignored it . . . instead they recognised the gift of the Holy Spirit and baptised the new believers in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit goes where he will. Sometimes that doesnít agree with our ideas and our preconceptions. The Spirit is not confined to one sort of person, or one type of church, or one style of worship. If we see the Holy Spirit at work in the most unlikely of people, in the most unlikely of places, let us, like Peter, rejoice and give glory to God!
Lord God, may I grow to recognise your Holy Spirit at work in your people and in your church. Give me grace to rejoice as you pour out your gifts on others, hunger for your Spirit in my own life, and wisdom and grace to use the gifts you have given to me for your glory.