"At that the whole assembly fell silent." —Acts 15:12
After Peter talked, the whole assembly was silent. This was probably a "dead silence." Peter had just dropped a bombshell on them, and they were shocked. Peter declared that God no longer made any distinction between Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15:9), that Gentiles were also included in God's chosen people, and that they didn't even need to be circumcised. Jesus had clearly made a distinction between Jews and Gentiles (see Mt 7:6; 10:5; 15:24), but said that this would change (see Mt 28:19). Peter stated that the time for the change was now. This was such a shocking revelation that its acceptance by the Jewish Christian leaders in Jerusalem was truly miraculous. Although riots later broke out over related issues (see Acts 21:30ff), the Church which was originally all-Jewish set forth on a course toward becoming almost all-Gentile.
When the Lord says something to you which is absolutely shocking, when your reaction is "dead silence," do you respond as did the Jewish Christian leaders in Jerusalem? Do you obey the Lord? Or are there certain things the Lord could never get through to you? Would you be a priest or a religious if God said so? Would you be open to reconciliation with an ex-spouse? Would you repent of a sin you have rationalized for years? Would you sell what you have and give to the poor? (Mk 10:21) After "dead silence" comes either the life of obedience or the death of sin. Go from silence to obedience.
Prayer: Father, give me the silence of awe and love of You (see Rv 8:1).
Promise: "All this I tell you that My joy may be yours and your joy may be complete." —Jn 15:11
Praise: St. Fidelis was killed for striving to bring unity to the Church.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Do You Renounce Satan? on audio AV 44-1 or video V-44.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007
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