10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Choices - we make them every day. Some are hard choices with huge consequences but most are small with seemingly smaller consequences. Some choices we think long about. Some are made almost as if we are on auto pilot.
When God stepped in and gave His Spirit to Cornelius and his family and friends gathered in his home Peter had a choice. He could embrace and cooperate with what God was doing or resist. His response is interesting. "Can anyone forbid water that they should not be baptized...?" Peter is not stupid. He knows many will struggle with what is happening. However is response is seemingly "What choice do we have?"
Yet Peter had a choice. He could have resisted and refused. When Stephen explained from the sacred texts of the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah it was as obvious as when God's Spirit was given in Caesarea that day. However the reaction was opposite. They blocked their ears and ran at Stephen, dragged him from the city and killed him. It was much like when Cain fully understood he was in the wrong but rather than admit it or change he killed his faithful brother.
Sometimes we say things like "I didn't have a choice" but that statement is never true. Choice is the one thing that no man can take from us and God never will. No matter how obviously wrong or right a choice is we still have the freedom to do otherwise.
Both the Canadian and American national anthems declare freedom. However those freedoms are becoming less and there are many who want to reduce them further. Some want to force others to think as they think. These issues will increase and freedoms will continue to erode. Yet in the face of all these things our choice remains.
Peter could have forbidden the waters of baptism or refused to participate. The Jews with him had the same choice. However Peter had a habit of surrendering his choices to the will of God. He could have refused to go to Caesarea but he didn't. He could have refused to go to Joppa but he didn't. He could have refused to listen to the message from God given in the vision that no man is common or unclean. He could have refused to share the message.
Every day we make choices. The ones I make today will shape how I respond to other choices tomorrow.
Can anyone forbid doing the right thing? Yes. However God's children never forbid His leading. Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart...