Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
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Pentecost: how far off?

What will it mean for us? The promise is for those ‘afar off’. Peter prophesied it, probably had some measure of expectation, but the fulfilment was way beyond what he anticipated. The ‘afar off’ were of course the Gentiles. I have covered some of this material elsewhere so will not write extensively this time round.

Peter’s life was about to change the day he went on the roof top to pray before dinner. Three times (3 times!!) he had a vision and 3 times he responded holding his ground, the ground that he had stood on because he had followed the ways of God. He moves from the vision to the front door to be confronted by three people (3 persons!) on his doorstep. They came speaking of supernatural encounters that an ‘afar off’ person had had: an angelic visitation with an address and the name of who he should contact. Role reversal! The apostle had an encounter that left him needing to be re-educated, Cornelius has the ‘high’ level encounter.

Peter has to make the journey, literally, culturally, emotionally and spiritually. He comes through because he is willing to have a major conversion. Cornelius too needs a conversion, but in the context it seems that was fairly small.

I consider that in every wave of the Spirit there are three phases, or at least there could be three phases. The promise is for ‘you’ is where it begins; the promise is generational… and dependent on how we respond to the generational promise, it can also be for those who are afar off. The promise is not as simple as ‘and then the afar off will come to you’, to embrace that third aspect we have to be willing to undergo conversions and to go on a journey. To stand our ground and say ‘never have I’ might be OK as a starting point, but we have to be open to being taught. That re-learning process will only come as we walk the path.

Some strange reports lie ahead. Ones that do fit in the categories we have pre-determined. Such is the promise of Pentecost.


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4 thoughts on “Pentecost: how far off?

  1. Amen
    Indeed there is something depp when God takes someone into a journey involving cultural immersion
    I’m looking forward for Pentecost too.

  2. The “afar off”. Been pondering that phrase since reading this. If the Gentiles were the “afar off” to Peter and the early disciples, then who are our “afar off”? The Gentiles were the outsiders, the untouchable, the uncircumcised. I wonder if we fully appreciate how offensive it would have been to them to see the Gentiles included in an inclusive Gospel. The same response we may get today when we hear God is doing something in the LBGTQ community? The same response we may get when we hear that God is speaking to and moving amongst people of other religions or paganism or none at all? The “afar off” will always be those outside our own remit. Maybe God actually meant it when he said all flesh without parameters. Now that is an offensive thought. Or is that just the power of Pentecost? Really enjoyed the pondering’s you’ve provided during this series Martin. Plenty to wrestle with in this amazing journey.

    1. Paul – thanks… Just so. I held back from suggesting as you have put out there about the LGBTQ community, but I do have a conviction that there is something of God about to happen among them. Can’t say I have the answers on this one as to what it will look like etc. I held back as I thought the post was not the place to put it. ‘Afar off’ is always nice in theory as there is the inbuilt bias that it will mean they all join us… but Peter made the journey not Cornelius and in reality Peter had the bigger (mental) conversion. And Cornelius needed to meet Jesus, though dare I say it not in order to be ‘safe’ but to come to salvation.

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