It's quite a few weeks before Christmas, but this Sunday's sermon may evoke a pivotal
character from Charles Dickens' classic novel, A Christmas Carol.
Jacob Marley had been the friend and financial partner to Ebenezer Scrooge for many
years, until his death. Marley had died on Christmas Eve, exactly seven years prior to the
start of Scrooge's story, where Dickens begins to tell it. After the reader has been duly
introduced to the character of Scrooge, the Jacob Marley character, appearing as a ghost,
enters the story.
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The bride-to-be was obviously nervous. It was only the rehearsal, but already the pastor could see that tomorrow’s wedding might be in for problems.
“You’re letting it all get to you,” he told her gently, as he pulled her aside. “Just take it one little step at a time. When you get to the door with your father tomorrow afternoon, look only at the aisle ahead of you. You’ve walked it hundreds of times, every Sunday when you come to church. Think only of that.
This story about Peter's mission to the Gentiles continues the account that began in 10:1, and it repeats in greater detail the content of Peter's vision that was already mentioned in 10:9-16. It is a remarkable story, because it treats rather lightly a dispute that was widespread in the New Testament church, the dispute over conditions to be laid upon Gentile converts to the faith.