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Acts 10:17-48
The time had come for the Lord to send the gospel out to the Gentiles. It would be those who had first
embraced the good news who would carry it out - those who had formerly been Jews. But a cavernous gap
had formed between Jew and Gentile, due to the traditions that the Jews had added to the Law. The Lord
had given Israel the Law simply as a means of keeping them separate and pure as a nation. But the Jews
used that separation as a license to declare all things Gentile unclean - even the Gentiles, themselves.

This perverse thinking had to be overcome, in order for the Jews to hand the gospel to the Gentiles. So the
Lord began to build upon the thinking of a certain Gentile, as well as upon one of His own apostles. And
what was the Lord building? A bridge, to span the gap between Jew and Gentile, so that the gospel could
be effectively delivered to the nations.

The Lord first worked on the thinking of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, who had begun to be drawn to the
God of Israel. In a vision of an angel, the Lord acknowledged the prayers and alms of Cornelius; but those
offerings could only be acceptable through Christ.

So the Lord directed Cornelius to seek out one of His disciples, who could provide him with that vital,
missing part of his offering. To whom did the Lord direct Cornelius? To Peter. After the angel had
departed, Cornelius immediately made arrangements to retrieve Peter from Joppa.

Meanwhile, the Lord began to work on Peter=s thinking, to prepare him for what lay ahead. Peter=s side of
the bridge required a lot more work, because of his natural Jewish mindset concerning the Gentiles. The
Lord gave Peter a vision of a fine white linen cloth, that was filled with animals, clean and unclean. When
the Lord commanded Peter to kill and eat, Peter refused - for it would have been a violation of the Law
concerning clean and unclean foods - something every Agood Jew@ upheld.

But was Peter any longer a Jew? No - he was a Christ One. The Law had been fulfilled in Christ, and in
Christ, Peter was free to eat. But there was a greater lesson in the vision. The Lord said not to call unclean
what the Lord Himself had cleansed. This would have referred to the unclean animals, in the vision - a
picture of the unclean Gentiles, whom the Lord would cleanse by His Grace, through faith - just as He had
cleansed the Jewish believers. Whether Jew or Gentile, the blood of Jesus Christ, God=s Son, can cleanse
from all sin. (1 Jn 1:7).

Now the meaning of this vision was not at all clear to Peter, but it was repeated by the Lord no less than
three times - so Peter understood it was of the greatest import. It was while he was still pondering the
meaning of the vision, that some visitors arrived at the house.

v. 17-18 The word Adoubted@ here does not mean that Peter did not believe what the Lord had shown
him, in the vision; it means that he was thoroughly perplexed by it. He did not yet understand what the
vision meant. The Lord would be the one to clear it up for Peter, which He would do through a set of
circumstances that He designed for that very purpose.

You may think, AWouldn=t it just have been easier for the Lord to command Peter to go to the Gentiles,
and preach to them - to just tell Peter that He wished to include the Gentiles in His plan of salvation?@ It
may have been a more direct way of doing things, but it would not have been as effective. Peter would
have done as the Lord commanded, but would his heart have been in it? No - because of his Jewish
mindset against the Gentiles, that they were an unclean people.
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The Lord first needed to bring down that stronghold in Peter=s mind, so that he was truly receptive to going
and preaching the gospel to the Gentiles - for Peter would have to come in close contact with the Gentiles
to share the good news with them, and if he treated them like lepers, they would surely have sensed that -
and that would have made them less receptive to what Peter had to say. You can see it was vital for the
Lord to first open up Peter=s mind, so that he could have God=s perspective on the Gentiles.

So just as Peter was contemplating the meaning of his mysterious vision - behold! The men from Cornelius
arrived at Simon=s house. Now, these men had been dispatched from Caesarea, and must have traveled
part of the night, in order to get to Joppa as quickly as possible. Of course, they didn=t know where Simon
the tanner lived - the angel had just told Cornelius that his house was by the seaside - so they had to inquire
of the inhabitants of Joppa, in order to locate his house.

Remember that Cornelius had his vision around 3 PM the day before, and Joppa is about 30 miles from
Caesarea, and they traveled part of the night, and spent some time inquiring for Simon the tanner=s house -
so what was the exact time they arrived? Right on time.

The Lord, knowing precisely how long everything would take, sent the vision to Cornelius at just such a
time, that his men would arrive at the gate of Simon the tanner=s house exactly when Peter=s vision was
ending. That=s our sovereign, omniscient God.

When the men arrived at the house, they stood before the gate, and called out, inquiring if Peter was a guest
there. The gate was actually the outer door to the home, which led into a porch, in which visitors could be
received. But the men made their inquiry from the outside, which may show their sensitivity to how the
Jews would have regarded them, as Gentiles. Having a gate, or outer door, indicates that Simon the tanner
was rather well-to-do.

v. 19-20 As the men were inquiring for Peter, the Spirit informed Peter that they were there. Remember
that Peter had gone to pray up on the flat rooftop, seeking out its cool and quiet solitude. He was still deep
in thought concerning the vision that the Lord had sent him - no less than three times. By that, he could tell
that this was a critical communication from the Lord. That=s when the Spirit told Peter about the men -
three men - who were seeking him.

Did Peter make a connection between the three men, and the three repetitions of his vision? We will see
later, when Peter relates his vision to the brethren at Jerusalem, that it would seem he did (Acts 11:10-11).

When the Spirit told Peter about the three men, He did not mention who they were - nor that they were
Gentiles. But by faith, Peter saw the first flicker of light falling on his mysterious vision. He immediately
did as the Spirit commanded, and went down to meet the three men, purposing to go with them wherever
they would lead him - for the Spirit had said that He had sent them.

v. 21-22 Peter would have descended from the rooftop by a staircase which usually led directly to the
porch, by which he could then have approached the doorway. Imagine the surprise of Peter to see who his
three visitors were - for they were Gentiles.

These were the men that he was supposed to go with? Where? Peter identified himself, then inquired as to
why these men had come. He must have wondered what business he, being a Jew, could possibly have
with these Gentiles - for the Jews had no dealings with Gentiles (for a similar situation with the Samaritans,
see Jn 4:9).
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The servants and soldier of Cornelius then related their mission. Can you sense their regard for their
master, Cornelius? They love the boss. Consider how carefully they chose their words. They must have
been thinking all the way to Joppa how they were going to convince this Jew to come back with them to
Caesarea - to travel in the company of unclean Gentiles - for the purpose of visiting another unknown
Gentile - who was equally unclean. Of course, they did not view themselves as unclean -they were just
thinking like Jews.

So first they indicated to Peter that Cornelius was a somebody - he=s a Roman centurion. That wasn=t
necessarily the best start, for the Jews hated Rome, considering them their oppressors. And Cornelius was
an officer of the Roman army, the very emblem of worldly power, loathed by every Agood Jew@.

But the men had more to commend Cornelius: he was just - in Gentile terms, a good man - and he feared
God. Now, that would have caught Peter=s attention, for here was one who was a God-fearer. Remember
that a God-fearer was just short of being a proselyte, a convert to Judaism. A God-fearer was one who had
attached himself to Judaism, and abandoned his pagan religion in favor of following Jehovah - the true and
Living God.

And the men told Peter that Cornelius had a good reputation in Israel. Perhaps Peter would have surmised
that Cornelius was therefore a generous benefactor, to have such a reputation.

The men told Peter that Cornelius had been instructed by an angel to send for him. Notice that they say,
Ato send for you into his house@. We do not see that in the original words of the angel (v. 4-6); but it is
very much on the minds of these Gentiles, because they know that, in order to speak to Cornelius, Peter will
have to enter his house; and for a Jew, that would be a serious issue.

When Peter heard that they were requesting him to return with them to Caesarea, and to speak to Cornelius,
he would have begun to see why he was to go - for what words would it be that Peter would speak? The
words of Life Everlasting - the gospel, the good news of Jesus.

And there, in Caesarea, was a man who was prepared to hear those words, who already had been drawn to
the true and Living God; and this man was specifically prepared to hear those words from Peter, as the
angel had mentioned him by name in the vision Cornelius had - even revealing where he was staying, in
Joppa.

But these men were all - Gentiles. The one, waiting in Caesarea - and these three, who had come to fetch
Peter - all Gentiles. Yet, after his vision, the Spirit had said he was to go with these three men, with no
hesitation in his heart, for the Spirit said, He had sent them.

Three Gentiles - sent by God. Did Peter think back to his vision? In it, Peter had seen four kinds of
animals. One kind was clean; the others kinds were unclean. One clean, three unclean - and it was
repeated three times. Three unclean animals - three unclean Gentiles.

The Lord had said, Awhat God had cleansed, you are not to call common@ (v. 15); did Peter begin to see
that God was going to perform the same cleansing of the Gentiles, that He had been doing among the Jews?
That the Gentiles would be cleansed by grace also, through their faith?

At the very least, Peter knew at this point that he was supposed to go with these men, for the Spirit had
commanded him to do so. By faith, he made the decision, and purposed in his heart to go.
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v. 23 Peter purposed in his heart to go; but could he go immediately? No - Caesarea was not a day trip; he
would have to pack up his possessions first. How rude it would have been, to make these men wait
outside! Love is not rude (1 Cor 13:5). So Peter broke through the first of several social rules that Jews
made concerning Gentiles - and invited them into Simon the tanner=s house.

Now was that okay with Simon? Simon was certainly a believer, in that Peter was lodging with him, and
he was certainly a former Jew, following the same logic. Simon would have submitted to what Peter
decided in the matter, in recognition of his authority as an apostle.

Also, Simon may have been more lax regarding the social customs of the Jews, for his occupation as a
tanner was considered unclean by them - that put him in the Aunclean Gentile@ category. Simon may even
have allowed Gentiles into his home previously, as he lived in a city with a large Gentile population, and
may have done business with them - that may have been why he was well-to-do.

Now, you may recall that Peter had gone up to the rooftop to pray around noon, and had become very
hungry (v. 9). Last week, I mentioned that this would suggest Simon=s household adhered to the
mealtimes of the Gentile Romans, who had a large meal around noon, whereas the Jews ate a late morning
and early evening meal.

We had read that while Peter was up on the rooftop, Simon=s household was preparing a meal (v. 10). This
meal would have, just now, been ready to serve; just at the time when these three Gentiles arrived, at the
house.

Now, Peter had been very hungry, and I=m sure he still was. Would he, with the other members of
Simon=s household, now eat a meal, in front of these Gentiles, without offering them the food, as well?
Would they put them in another room, or outside, and throw out everything they touch, or that touches
them? That would be rude! Love is not rude. So I=m sure that Peter broke social rule # 2, and invited the
three Gentiles to partake of the meal.

By then, it would have been too late to set out for Caesarea, and so social rule # 3 was broken - and Peter
lodged the three men under Simon=s roof. I=m sure Simon was fine with all of this; but for Peter, it was
definitely new ground - Gentile ground. And I=m sure he was beginning to see that the ground wasn=t any
dirtier, than the ground of the Jews.

Certainly by the dawn of the next day, the truth was beginning to dawn on Peter - after all the decisions,
based on Love, the day before, Peter now realized what it was that the Lord had been showing to him, in
the vision.

The Lord was intending to cleanse those whom Peter thought of as unclean - the Gentiles. And those
whom the Lord cleansed, Peter was not to call common - defiled - unclean - because they no longer were.
The Lord can - and will - cleanse anyone whom He will; He can do so through the blood of His Lamb, that
had been slain for them - for both Jew, and Gentile.

The reason we can know that Peter understood this by now is because when he went away with the three
Gentiles, he brought Acertain brethren from Joppa@ with him. Why would he have brought all these men?
He didn=t need any help, to preach the gospel to Cornelius. If he desired a traveling companion, he would
simply have brought one man. He would only have brought all these brethren in order that he would have
witnesses - so that they could witness what God was going to do, with the Gentiles.
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Peter recognized, by what it took to overcome his own mindset against the Gentiles, that it was imperative
that others see what it was that God was going to do. The community of believers at that time was
composed almost exclusively of former Jews, and Peter knew that they would think the idea of God
desiring to grant the Gentiles salvation nothing short of revolutionary - not to mention, revolting.

The testimony of eyewitnesses would fortify Peter=s testimony that the Lord was indeed reaching out to
the Gentiles - and the outreach would be through the members of His Body - for now, former Jews. By this
time, then, Peter already knew what the Lord was going to do.

When Peter later addresses the brethren in Jerusalem, he will mention that he brought six of the brethren
from Joppa with him to Caesarea (Acts 11:12). Along with Peter, how many witnesses would there be?
Seven - the number of completion, of perfection. These would be the perfect witness to what the Lord was
doing through the Gentiles, for the completion of His church.

We learn in verse 24 that the party did not arrive in Caesarea until the day after they left. That may have
been because it would have taken some time to determine which brethren were to accompany Peter, and for
them to pack their belongings - so they probably started out from Joppa late in the day.

This means that the party had to lodge somewhere along the way. Now, Peter had already gotten a bit
accustomed to contact with the Gentiles - but for the rest of the Jewish brethren from Joppa, this might
have been their first experience in close association with them.

v. 24 Cornelius was one remarkable man. What faith the man had, even now - he never doubted that his
men would return with Peter. He was so certain of it, that he invited friends and associates to come and
hear Peter speak - and they were already at Cornelius= house, waiting for Peter.

We have seen previously that Cornelius shared what little Light he had with all his household (v. 2), and
that they, too, had come to fear God. Now Cornelius reached out to those around him - to close friends,
and kinsmen - which most likely here refers to fellow countrymen. This was a man who was truly excited
about God, and gave God the preeminence in life that He should have - and Cornelius was not yet even a
believer. Would that believers would give the Lord the preeminence that Cornelius did!

v. 25-27 As Peter was arriving, Cornelius saw him coming, and went out of his house to meet him. Upon
reaching Peter, Cornelius then prostrated himself on the ground at Peter=s feet. The word for
Aworshiped@ in verse 25 can mean bowing before God in worship, or before man to show respect or
reverence. It was the latter in the case of Cornelius, who merely wished to show his profound regard for
Peter, which Cornelius judged as befitting a messenger of God.

I=m sure the burly Peter, a former fisherman, never had anyone do this to him in his entire life, and
undoubtedly, he found it embarrassing. Peter immediately reached down and helped Cornelius up, assuring
him that he, Peter, was also just a mere human being.

Notice how, in so doing, Peter was putting himself on the same level as Cornelius - a despised Gentile, in
the eyes of the Jews. Peter acknowledged himself as a fellow of this man, and freely talked with Cornelius,
as they walked back to the house, and went in. There Peter and the other believers found the friends of
Cornelius - a houseful of Gentiles - all eagerly waiting to hear what Peter would have to say.
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Now, Peter just walked into Cornelius= house; but he couldn=t have failed to think of what a violation this
was to Jewish tradition. Of all forms of interaction with Gentiles, to accept their hospitality - to enter their
home - was considered perhaps the most defiling of all. Yet Peter had walked right in, with his Gentile
host.

I doubt that Peter noticed the exact step which brought him over the threshold into the home of Cornelius,
but it was one of the most momentous steps ever taken in history. By faith, Peter had taken that step - he
had crossed that bridge, that the Lord had built between the worlds of Jew and Gentile. By faith, he would
now deliver the message that the Spirit would give to him.

v. 28-29 Now, you might think that the way Peter spoke of the Gentiles, directly to their faces was rude -
but Love is not rude! This was a known and accepted fact, to both Jew and Gentile: Jews don=t associate
with Gentiles, and they do not go to their houses to visit. Peter spoke of it as an unlawful thing, meaning it
was forbidden; it was taboo, according to their religion - that is, their traditions.

But, Peter said, God had shown him that he should not call any man profane, or defiled. Peter had
definitely made the connection with his vision - it was something that God had shown him; and if God had
shown it to Peter, then it superceded the Jews= religious traditions - that is, those traditions could be seen to
be, not of God, but of man.

Can you imagine how this hit the Gentiles? Here was someone they considered to be a Jew (not yet
knowing he was a Christ-One), and he was saying that the Jews may consider themselves superior to the
Gentiles, but God did not consider them to be so. That would have been incredibly encouraging for the
Gentiles to hear, as they had been drawn to this God, and desired to know more about Him.

And how did it hit the Jewish brethren from Joppa? It=s unlikely that they were as receptive to Peter=s
words as the Gentiles were, but perhaps they were beginning to have their thinking enlightened as they had
shared their time and space with the Gentiles on the way to Caesarea. Also, these Jewish brethren would
have had great respect for Peter, who had miraculously restored the life of Tabitha in their city, and who
had no doubt had been teaching them for some time.

Peter indicated that because of what the Lord had shown him, he didn=t at all resist, when He was sent for
by Cornelius - and now, all that remained was for Cornelius to tell him the reason he sent for him. The
servants had already told this to Peter, but he wished to hear more detail from Cornelius himself.

v. 30-33 So Cornelius related the events that led up to the invitation of Peter. It was four days before that
Cornelius had been praying - and apparently fasting as well - at the same hour that Peter was now present,
around 3 PM. He related his vision of the heavenly messenger, and how the angel had told him that God
acknowledged his prayers and alms - they were like an offering rising up before God.

In light of the need of Cornelius to have a complete offering, acceptable to God, the angel gave Cornelius
instructions for finding Peter, who would speak to him - in the next chapter, we will see that this included
telling Cornelius how he and all his house could be saved (Acts 11:14). From this, we can conclude that,
within the prayers of Cornelius, was the prayer of a sinner, seeking salvation; and God heard his prayer,
and sent Peter.
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Cornelius said that Peter had done well in coming; indeed, he did. Here was an audience completely
prepared, and most receptive for the words of Life that Peter would now share with them, by the Holy
Spirit.

v. 34-35 So Peter opened his mouth, and the Spirit filled it, with the words of Life everlasting. It=s likely
that this is just an outline of what Peter told the Gentiles, rather than a word-for-word record, and he
probably elaborated on key points.

Some commentators also believe that Peter spoke in Aramaic, his primary language, and that his words
were translated into the Greek by one of the Jewish brethren from Joppa. The reason they believe this is
that the flow of the words recorded are very smooth in the Aramaic, but somewhat choppy in the Greek;
and some Aramaic idioms are used. Whatever the case, this is what the Spirit inspired Luke to record of
Peter=s words, and they communicate the good news of Jesus as Messiah and Lord very well.

First, Peter said that he could see for himself that God is no respecter of persons. That term, in the Greek
literally means Ato receive face@. It speaks of receiving one person before another; it means to be partial.
God has no favorites - isn=t that a blessing, because you wouldn=t be one of them, would you? Me,
neither.

The Jew believed that God respected them, above the other nations; but He did not. No one has a claim on
God - no nation, no person. God measured Israel by the same criteria that He measured every other nation.
And how did all the nations, including Israel, measure up? They fell short.

God knows that all - all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rm 3:21-23) - whether it is Jew, or
Gentile. And God is willing to enlighten anyone - anyone who is willing to come to the Light, believing.

Peter spoke of anyone, in any nation, who fears God, and works righteousness - that God is willing to
accept him. These were the exact terms that the servants used to describe Cornelius to Peter in v. 22 - a just
(righteous) man, and one that fears God.

Those like Cornelius who fear God, who have a rightly-directed reverence toward Him - that is, those who
see the Light - and those who work righteousness, acting upon the Light that they have received - they are
accepted by God to be fully enlightened, that they might receive the Light of Life (Jn 8:12). He who
practices the truth comes to the Light that his works may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God
(Jn 3:21). Such a one works the work of God - he believes in the One whom God sent (Jn 6:28-29).

It was of this Sent One whom Peter talked about next.

v. 36-38 AThe word@ in verse 36 is speaking here of a message. God sent a message to the sons of Israel
- that message was the gospel of peace. This was speaking of peace to be had with God; of being
reconciled to Him. And how did Peter say that peace could be had? By Jesus the Messiah - that is,
through Him.

Here, Peter named Jesus as the Anointed One of Israel, and he also called Him the Lord of all - something
that both the Jews and the Gentiles would recognize as a title that rightly belongs to God. Jesus, the
Messiah, is Lord. He is God the Son - the Master of all - and that would include the Gentiles. This is their
God, whom Peter preached to them.
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Peter also said that this Gentile audience was familiar with that message of peace through Jesus, as it was
published throughout Judea, having begun in Galilee - where Jesus started His ministry. Galilee was just
inland from Caesarea, and those in Caesarea probably heard much of Jesus, and His teaching, and His
works. Now Peter began to fill in that distant witness that they had heard with a first-hand account of what
Jesus did.

Luke gave a brief recap of what might have been a more detailed account of the ministry of Jesus, as told
by Peter. He began with the baptism of Jesus by John, where God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit for
His ministry; and then a summary of His miraculous works, which attested to the fact that Jesus is of God.

Now, the way this is laid out is reminiscent of the words of a passage of Isaiah that is part of the Servant
Songs, speaking of the Servant of Jehovah - the Messiah. Turn to Isaiah chapter 61.

[Isaiah 61:1-2a] In the summary statement of Peter=s words by Luke, he brings out the anointing with the
Spirit, the preaching of the gospel, and the healing of those who were in need.

[Return to Acts] Now, why would Peter have taken this approach - by the inspiration of the Spirit - when
his audience was a group of Gentiles? Because these Gentiles were God-fearers - they had attached
themselves to Judaism - and no doubt they had access to some of the Jews= Scriptures - just as the
Ethiopian eunuch had, who had been reading the book of Isaiah when Philip reached him.

Perhaps these Gentiles had even heard of the fact that Jesus had read this particular Scripture in a
synagogue, and that He indicated that He was the fulfillment of it - because that had occurred in nearby
Galilee (Lk 4:16-21). At any rate, the Spirit would work with the little bit these Gentiles knew of the OT
Scriptures, and meet it with its fulfillment in Jesus, as told by Peter, an eyewitness.

v. 39-41 Peter then spoke of the end of Jesus= earthly ministry - that the Jews rejected Jesus, putting Him
to death on a cross, but that God vindicated Him, raising Him up from the dead. The fact that He truly
came back to life was attested to by His disciples who saw Him, who witnessed Him alive, in unmistakable
ways - by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). These witnesses had been chosen ahead of time by God - they
were the ones who had chosen to believe into Jesus before His death.

Peter=s Gentile audience would certainly have heard of the death of Jesus - Pilate, who put Jesus to death,
had lived in the governor=s residence right in Caesarea. But these Gentiles probably never heard that Jesus
rose from the dead, proving He had the power over death - as well as the approval of God in heaven. The
resurrection of Jesus proved Him to be whom He claimed to be - The Messiah; the Son of God.

v. 42-43 Peter spoke of Jesus having commanded the disciples to preach to the people. They were to
continue to share the gospel which He had shared, while He was with them - just as Peter was doing now,
with this Gentile audience. And Peter testified that it was Jesus who would be the Judge of the Living and
the Dead - for God had delegated that authority to Jesus, as the One who had overcome Death - with Life.

The disciples had learned this of Jesus in a revelation He made of Himself to the Jewish authorities in
Jerusalem. Turn back to John chapter 5. Jesus had just healed a crippled man on the Sabbath, the day of
rest, which infuriated the Jewish rulers. He explained that He worked, in accordance with His heavenly
Father=s work - for the salvation of mankind - which They could not rest in, until it was finished. Jesus
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then spoke further of His relationship with His Father.

[John 5:26-27] The Father has given His Son, Jesus, the authority to have Life in Himself - everlasting
Life, that He gives to all who believe in Him (Jn 5:24). The Father has also given His Son, Jesus, the
authority to execute judgment. These two things are really two sides of the same coin; if you will not
receive Life from Jesus, you must accept His judgment.

[Return to Acts] So Peter named Jesus as the Judge of the Living and the Dead. This brings out that there
is life after physical death, if there is judgment after death. Cornelius and his friends would have associated
this judgment with God - once again emphasizing that Jesus is God.

Peter spoke not only of judgment, but of forgiveness to be had, in Jesus. By taking sin upon Himself, Jesus
removed sin from the sinner, making forgiveness possible. It was the prophet Isaiah who specifically
connected the Messiah with the forgiveness of sins: AHe [the Servant of Jehovah] shall bear their
iniquities@ (Is 53:11c); AHe bore the sin of the many@ (Is 53:12b). Perhaps Cornelius and the other
Gentiles had heard this Scripture in Isaiah; now they heard that, whoever believed in Jesus could have their
sins forgiven, personally.

Peter seemed intent upon saying more - but no more needed to be said, right then.

v. 44-48 Right on the heels of Peter=s words concerning believing into Jesus, the Holy Spirit was given to
Aall of them who heard the word@ - to Cornelius and those of his household and friends who placed their
faith in Jesus - perhaps to every one who had come.

Who gave the Holy Spirit to them? God did; and it was evident He did, because the new Gentile believers
began to speak in other tongues - known languages that were foreign to them - just as the Jewish believers
did on Pentecost. Both groups magnified God, speaking of His wonderful works.

In fact, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit was very similar to when He was given on Pentecost, not to the
3000 Jews who came to believe, but to the original disciples of Jesus, who had been gathered together in
Jerusalem in obedience to Jesus, waiting for the promised Spirit. At that time, those believers, all Jews,
also spoke in tongues after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

But this was not a separate baptism in the Spirit, of the Gentiles. The Gentiles were receiving the gift of
the Spirit, by which they were placed in the Body of Christ, which had already been baptized, once and for
all, on the day of Pentecost. By becoming members of the Body of Christ, they received its baptism. Later
Paul would write, AFor by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles@
(1 Cor 12:13).

There is only one baptism (Eph 4:5) - the baptism of the Body of Christ in the Holy Spirit, which happened
on Pentecost - 2000 years ago, for us; about seven years ago, for these Gentile believers.

The Jewish brethren were stunned by the sight of the Gentiles speaking in tongues, realizing that the gift of
the Holy Spirit had been poured out on them - just as He had on the Jewish believers. The text says that
Athey of the circumcision were astonished@, referring to the Jewish believers.

Was Peter astonished? No - only those who came with him (v. 45). Peter was prepared; he already knew
what the Lord was going to do, because he had believed Him, through the vision and through the
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circumstances. Peter understood that the Lord would now cleanse any and all who were unclean, by the
blood of Jesus - whomsoever will.
The Gentiles received the Holy Spirit, having simply believed God for His Christ. Later, Peter would say,
AGod, who knows the hearts, bore them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, as unto us; and put no
difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith@ (Acts 15:8-9). There was no call to
repentance, no water baptism, no laying on of hands, not even naming the name of Christ, which preceded
the giving of the Spirit. In this way, the Jews were enabled to see that it was by Grace alone, through faith,
that the Gentiles were saved.

Later, Paul would write to the believers in Rome, AIs He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the
Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles, also; seeing it is one God, who shall justify circumcision [the Jews] by
faith, and uncircumcision [the Gentiles] through faith@ (Rm 3:29-30).

When it became evident that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit, Peter called for them to be water
baptized, just as the Lord had ordained (Mt 28:19), as a public testimony to their believing into Jesus.

The Jewish brethren evidently did as Peter commanded, as they began to absorb that now, the Gentiles
were no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with themselves, the saints; and now, they were
members of the same household - the household of God (Eph 2:19). There was no longer Jew nor Gentile;
all are One in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28).

At the request of the new Gentile believers, Peter stayed on with Cornelius for a while, no doubt teaching
them the foundational truths of the faith, building on their simple belief in Jesus as their Savior. The
Jewish brethren apparently returned to their homes in Joppa. There they would have shared the remarkable
events that had transpired in Caesarea; and word of what happened then raced back through Galilee and
Judea, reaching the brethren in Jerusalem.

And what was it that had happened? Peter had crossed a bridge of the Lord=s making, that had taken him
from the world of the Jews to the Gentiles; and he had taken that key, the gospel of Christ; and he had
opened up the door to the kingdom of heaven, for the Gentiles.

That is how God began to send His witness to Jesus to the uttermost parts of the earth; to make disciples of
all nations. And it all hinged upon one single act of obedience on the part of one of the Lord=s believers, at
one moment in time; like a pebble, thrown into a pond of water, that created ripples all the way to the edge
of it.

It makes you wonder - if Peter didn=t obey the Spirit, to preach the gospel to the household of Cornelius -
would you have ever heard that gospel? Would I? There are no Aplan B=s@ with God; but it should make
us realize how vital it is to be willing to obey the Lord in our own lives. Peter was in the regular practice
of obeying God, so that when he was called to obey in a circumstance where he had a mindset, he was
willing to lay down his thinking, and have the Lord=s thinking instead.

Are we in the regular practice of obeying God? Do we submit to Him in our daily lives? If not, then how
likely is it that we will submit to Him when we have a stronghold in our thinking - as Peter did? Yet, like
for Peter, that might be the single act of obedience that the Lord intends to use to work a mighty work upon
the earth. So don=t discount even one pebble of your obedience.

Next week: Read Acts 11; Rom 3; Eph 2:1-3:12.


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