Acts Chapter Ten
Read Acts 10:1-8
v1. “THERE WAS A CERTAIN MAN IN CAESAREA CALLED CORNELIUS, A CENTURION OF THE BAND CALLED THE ITALIAN band.”
We now turn
to Cornelius and his conversion that opened the gates of heaven to Gentile
v2. “A DEVOUT man, AND ONE THAT FEARED GOD WITH ALL HIS HOUSE, WHICH GAVE MUCH ALMS TO THE PEOPLE, AND PRAYED TO GOD ALWAY.”
Thus we have a description of this man Cornelius. First of all he’s a devout man. What does that mean? It means “devoted” “a mental attitude that leads to frequent and sincere though not always outwardly evident prayer and worship;” He gave much alms to the people, he was generous and liberal with his giving, even to the Jews. He was also a praying man and perhaps he was even praying for the opportunity for a better understanding of God’s will. We’re also told that his entire household feared or respected God.
v3. “HE SAW IN A VISION EVIDENTLY ABOUT THE NINETH HOUR OF THE DAY AN ANGEL OF GOD COMING IN TO HIM, AND SAYING UNTO HIM, CORNELIUS.”
Cornelius is praying about the ninth hour of the day. What is the significance of that time? It is the time, in the Jewish tradition, of afternoon prayers. Cornelius was not asleep, but rather saw in a vision openly (ASV) an angel coming in to where he was praying, calling him by name.
v4. “AND WHEN HE LOOKED ON HIM, HE WAS AFRAID, AND SAID, WHAT IS IT LORD? AND HE SAID UNTO HIM, THY PRAYERS AND THINE ALMS ARE COME UP FOR A MEMORIAL BEFORE GOD.”
Cornelius’ reaction is somewhat what ours would be, isn’t it? We would be at least a little frightened and hopefully we would have the presence of mind to ask “WHAT IS IT LORD?” The answer is that the life that Cornelius has led, his prayers and his good works have come to the attention of God. Now that would be good news wouldn’t it? Now what does this word “MEMORIAL” mean? The only other time we find the Greek word translated here as “memorial” was used by Jesus to describe the result of the woman anointing him with the precious oil in:
Matthew 26:13 “VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, WHERESOEVER THIS GOSPEL SHALL BE PREACHED IN THE WHOLE WORLD, there SHALL BE ALSO THIS, THAT THIS WOMAN HATH DONE, BE TOLD FOR A MEMORIAL OF HER.”
So just as the act of the woman who anointed Jesus; the good works and prayers of Cornelius would always be a memorial to him, and God would remember them. And we know about them today because those memorials were recorded for our learning and edification and continue until today.
v5. “AND NOW SEND MEN TO JOPPA, AND CALL FOR one SIMON, WHOSE SURNAME IS PETER.”
This is the beginning of God’s instructions to this military man. Send men to Joppa and call for Simon Peter, specific place, specific person, God’s messenger even gives him the address:
v6. “HE LODGETH WITH ONE SIMON A TANNER, WHOSE HOUSE IS BY THE SEA SIDE: HE SHALL TELL THEE WHAT THOU OUGHTEST TO DO.”
This man named Simon Peter would be found living or lodging with another Simon, a tanner who lives by the seashore and this Simon Peter would come and give Cornelius further instructions.
v7. “AND WHEN THE ANGEL WHICH SPAKE UNTO CORNELIUS WAS DEPARTED, HE CALLED TWO OF HIS HOUSEHOLD SERVANTS, AND A DEVOUT SOLDIER OF THEM THAT WAITED ON HIM CONTINUALLY;”
Cornelius didn’t wait did he? As soon as the angel left; departed, described by Luke as though he just walked away; Cornelius calls two of his servants and a soldier. The servants were of his household and the soldier was one who waited on him regularly. Apparently Roman centurions had the privilege of keeping an aide, even at home. This is not available to company commanders today; but available to higher ranking military men in the form of aides-de-camp.
v8. “AND WHEN HE HAD DECLARED ALL these THINGS UNTO THEM, HE SENT THEM TO JOPPA.”
all Cornelius told them everything that had gone on, everything that the angel
told him. These were men that he
trusted, men that knew his every habit and activity and probably were included
in those of his household that were converted as well, we don’t know. After he tells them all this, gives them
their instructions, he sends them on their way to Joppa. Apparently they left immediately, and what
time is it? He was praying at the ninth
hour or about so they’re
going to be traveling by night and Joppa is about 30 miles from
Read Acts 10:9-17
v9. “ON THE MORROW, AS THEY WENT ON THEIR JOURNEY, AND DREW NIGH UNTO THE CITY, PETER WENT UP UPON THE HOUSETOP TO PRAY ABOUT THE SIXTH HOUR:”
Now it’s the next day. The two servants and the soldier are drawing near Joppa. Peter goes up on the roof top to pray. Did their houses have peaked roofs like ours today? No, this is a desert land. The houses are built with flat roofs much like the southwestern architecture in this country. These roofs are used for a variety of purposes including sleeping in good weather. We’re told that it was also the custom to pray, worship, or even visit with friends on the rooftops under a shade or awning. It’s about time, one of the three times during the day that Jews usually prayed.
v10. “AND HE BECAME VERY HUNGRY, AND WOULD HAVE EATEN: BUT WHILE THEY MADE READY, HE FELL INTO A TRANCE.”
became hungry, very hungry, in fact the Greek word translated means exceedingly
hungry (we would express perhaps that he feels like he’s starving to death) and
would have eaten but the meal at
Simon’s house wasn’t ready yet. We’re
told that he fell into a trance. Now how
does that differ from a vision, or what Cornelius saw at
In the New Testament we find it used three times, here, Peter’s description of what happened to him in Acts 12:11 and Paul’s description in Jerusalem of what happened to him in Jerusalem as Saul in Acts 22:17.
v11. “AND SAW HEAVEN OPENED, AND A CERTAIN VESSEL DESCENDING UNTO HIM, AS IT HAD BEEN A GREAT SHEET KNIT AT THE FOUR CORNERS, AND LET DOWN TO THE EARTH:”
Now in this trance Peter starts seeing things. First of all a great vessel or structure that looks like a great sheet is let down. The four corners of this sheet are held up, as it were, being let down from heaven to earth. Men, in their imagination, have illustrated this scene as a sheet being held up by angels.
v12. “WHEREIN WERE ALL MANNER OF FOURFOOTED BEASTS OF THE EARTH, AND WILD BEASTS, AND CREEPING THINGS, AND FOWLS OF THE AIR.”
This great sheet holds all manner of animals both domestic and wild animals, things that creep along the ground like snakes and birds that fly of all sorts. That would include swine or hogs, birds of prey, basically anything and everything that could be eaten but including that which under the Mosaic Law was forbidden for food. This represents the entire scope of animal creation.
v13. “AND THERE CAME A VOICE TO HIM, RISE, PETER, KILL, AND EAT.”
Now, as you remember, Peter was extremely hungry. All manner of birds and animals are presented to him and he’s instructed to rise up, kill what he needs from this sheet and eat to satisfy his hunger.
v14. “BUT PETER SAID, NOT SO, LORD; FOR I HAVE NEVER EATEN ANY THING THAT IS COMMON OR UNCLEAN.”
Peter is a very devout Jew. He is not only extremely hungry, but he gets instructions from a source that he recognizes, God, to satisfy that hunger. Yet he refuses because it is a violation of the Mosaic Law. They could eat only those animals that had a cloven hoof and chewed a cud.
Leviticus 11:2-3 “SPEAK UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, SAYING, THERE are THE BEASTS WHICH YE SHALL EAT AMONG ALL THE BEASTS THAT are ON THE EARTH. WHATSOEVER PARTETH THE HOOF, AND IS CLOVENFOOTED, and CHEWETH THE CUD, AMONG THE BEASTS, THAT SHALL YE EAT.”
Leviticus “YE SHALL THEREFORE PUT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLEAN BEASTS AND UNCLEAN, AND BETWEEN UNCLEAN FOWLS AND CLEAN: AND YE SHALL NOT MAKE YOUR SOULS ABOMINABLE BY BEAST, OR BY FOWL, OR BY ANY MANNER OF LIVING THING THAT CREEPETH ON THE GROUND, WHICH I HAVE SEPARATED FROM YOU AS UNCLEAN.”
Peter has not broken that Mosaic Law and doesn’t intend to, even when commanded by God to do so.
v15. “AND THE VOICE spake UNTO HIM AGAIN THE SECOND TIME, WHAT GOD HATH CLEANSED, that CALL NOT THOU COMMON.”
The voice speaks again and tells Peter that he is not to call something that God has cleansed common or unclean. We will see God’s purpose here shortly when the men sent by Cornelius arrive. But aside from that; the meat restrictions in the Mosaic Law have been removed, haven’t they? The Jews don’t realize it yet but the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled and replaced by the law of Christ.
v16. “THIS WAS DONE THRICE: AND THE VESSEL WAS RECEIVED UP AGAIN UNTO HEAVEN.”
There seems to be some controversy over whether the sheet was lowered three times or not or whether God spoke to Peter three times and the sheet lowered only once but this is really of no consequence. Three times Peter refused to rise, kill and eat anything that the Mosaic Law considered unclean. Even though faced with direct instructions from God, that he understood as instructions for the one he called “LORD” in verse 14, he refused.
v17. “NOW WHILE PETER DOUBTED IN HIMSELF WHAT THIS VISION WHICH HE HAD SEEN SHOULD MEAN, BEHOLD, THE MEN WHICH WERE SENT FROM CORNELIUS HAD MADE INQUIRY FOR SIMON’S HOUSE, AND STOOD BEFORE THE GATE.”
It would seem that Peter has come out of his trance. He’s back in himself again and while the KJV says that he doubted the ASV uses stronger language saying the he “WAS MUCH PERPLEXED”. He doesn’t understand what this vision that he has seen in his trance means. But God’s timing is perfect, as usual, and the men from Cornelius have inquired for Simon’s house and are standing at the gate.
v18. “AND CALLED, AND ASKED WHETHER SIMON, WHICH WAS SURNAMED PETER, WERE LODGED THERE.”
They’re at the gate and asking for Simon Peter who they have been told is lodged or is staying there.
Read Acts 10:19-33
v19. “WHILE PETER THOUGHT ON THE VISION, THE SPIRIT SAID UNTO HIM, BEHOLD, THREE MEN SEEK THEE.”
Peter is still sitting, trying to figure out this mystery. He’s been confronted by a messenger of God, shown those meats and animals he’s been trained, completely indoctrinated that are unclean, unacceptable and forbidden by God. There has to be some significance to this vision but he can’t figure it out yet, it’s not time in God’s plan. In the meantime the Holy Spirit speaks to him and tells him that there are three men looking for him.
v20. “ARISE THEREFORE, AND GET THEE DOWN, AND TO WITH THEM, DOUBTING NOTHING: FOR I HAVE SENT THEM.”
Now the Spirit tells Peter that he’s not to doubt, that these three men have been sent to him. He’s to get down, down from the rooftop, and go with them.
v21. “THEN PETER WENT DOWN TO THE MEN WHICH WERE SENT UNTO HIM FROM CORNELIUS; AND SAID, BEHOLD, I AM HE WHOM YE SEEK: WHAT is THE CAUSE WHEREFORE YE ARE COME?”
So Peter follows the Spirit’s direction. He goes down, meets these men, tells them that he’s the man that they’re looking for and asks them what their purpose is. Why have they come to him?
v22. “AND THEY SAID, CORNELIUS THE CENTURION, A JUST MAN, AND ONE THAT FEARETH GOD, AND OF GOOD REPORT AMONG ALL THE NATION OF THE JEWS, WAS WARNED FROM GOD BY AN HOLY ANGEL TO SEND FOR THEE INTO HIS HOUSE, AND TO HEAR WORDS OF THEE.”
The messengers from Cornelius explain to Peter their mission. Cornelius the Centurion, a just man, and one that fears God, of good report among the Jewish population has been warned by God. God has sent a holy angel as a messenger to this Roman Gentile and instructed him to send for Peter. Now this isn’t the first time that Peter knew of a Roman centurion that treated the Jews well, is it? There was one that is mentioned in Luke who sought to have Jesus heal his servant and this man is described as:
Luke 7:5 “FOR HE LOVETH OUR NATION, AND HE HATH BUILT US A SYNAGOGUE.”
The centurion, Cornelius, had been told to send for Peter that he might hear words of him. Again, God demonstrates that men are to be his messengers to carry the gospel.
I Corinthians “21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
Cornelius needs to hear the words of God, but needs a
preacher, in this case the apostle who has the keys to the
v23. “THEN CALLED HE THEM IN, AND LODGED them. AND ON THE MORROW PETER WENT AWAY WITH THEM, AND CERTAIN BRETHREN FROM JOPPA ACCOMPANIED HIM.”
men have been traveling how long? They
Acts “AND THE SPIRIT BADE ME GO WITH THEM, NOTHING DOUBTING. MOREOVER THESE SIX BRETHREN ACCOMPANIED ME, AND WE ENTERED INTO THE MAN’S HOUSE:”
So God, by his providence, even provides a suitable number of witnesses doesn’t he? It won’t be just Peter speaking about the happenings in the house of Cornelius but he’s got one half dozen witnesses as well.
v24. “AND THE MORROW AFTER THEY
the group of people now with him, three from
v25. “AND AS PETER WAS COMING IN, CORNELIUS MET HIM, AND FELL DOWN AT HIS FEET, AND WORSHIPPED him.”
When Peter came into his house, Cornelius went to meet him. The translations are fairly consistent in rendering what Cornelius did as worship. But H. Leo Boles is of the opinion that the original Greek here has a somewhat different meaning than what we would consider worship as worship given to God, or worshipping someone as a god. He says the word does mean to show a high degree of reverence. If that be true then we would understand that Cornelius probably met Peter as he would Caesar, a king, or someone of very high office. At that time and in that culture it would not be uncommon for someone to fall down one their knees or prostrate themselves before a ruler.
v26. “BUT PETER TOOK HIM UP, SAYING, STAND UP; I MYSELF ALSO AM A MAN.”
Peter understood Cornelius action as being beyond the reverence that he should show toward another man and corrected him. Peter did not want to receive the kind of reverence that Cornelius was offering. We have a fairly similar situation in Revelation between John and the angel:
Revelation “AND I FELL AT HIS FEET TO WORSHIP HIM. AND HE SAID TO ME, SEE thou do it NOT: I AM THY FELLOWSERVANT, AND OF THY BRETHREN THAT HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS: WORSHIP GOD: FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.”
v27. “AND AS HE TALKED WITH HIM, HE WENT IN, AND FOUND MANY THAT WERE COME TOGETHER.”
Cornelius had not had Peter brought into his house but rather went out to meet him, probably at the gate. Now they go in and Peter finds a sizable gathering of people.
v28. “AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, YE KNOW HOW THAT IT IS AN UNLAWFUL THING FOR A MAN THAT IS A JEW TO KEEP COMPANY, OR COME UNTO ONE OF ANOTHER NATION; BUT GOD HATH SHOWED ME THAT I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY MAN COMMON OR UNCLEAN.”
begins by explaining even though he knew that under Mosaic Law it was unlawful
for him to keep company with these Gentiles, enter their home or have anything
else to do with them; God has just given him instruction otherwise. But was the extent to which that separation
was practiced commanded by the Law directly or was it more of a Jewish
tradition or custom? The Jews,
especially the Pharisees and elders at
John 4:9 “THEN SAITH THE WOMAN OF
Peter himself gets tangled up in a prejudice problem later himself doesn’t he?
Galatians “FOR BEFORE THAT CERTAIN CAME FROM JAMES, HE DID EAT WITH THE GENTILES: BUT WHEN THEY WERE COME, HE WITHDREW AND SEPARATED HIMSELF, FEARING THEM WHICH WERE OF THE CIRCUMCISION.”
v29. “THEREFORE CAME I unto you WITHOUT GAINSAYING, AS SOON AS I WAS SENT FOR: I ASK THEREFORE FOR WHAT INTENT YE HAVE SENT FOR ME?
Peter has been impressed with the vision that God had given him while he was in his trance on the rooftop. What does doing something without “GAINSAYING” mean? It means to do something without “answering back”, or as be tell our children, without “back talk”. Peter doesn’t waste any time here but immediately asks why Cornelius a gentile would send for him.
v30. “AND CORNELIUS SAID, FOUR DAYS AGO I WAS FASTING UNTILTHIS HOUR; AND AT THE NINETH HOUR I PRAYED IN MY HOUSE, AND, BEHOLD A MAN STOOD BEFORE ME IN BRIGHT CLOTHING.”
fourth day since Cornelius saw the messenger from God. It took his servants overnight and into the
next day to get to Joppa. They stayed
overnight at Joppa. Peter took a day and
until the ninth hour the next day to reach his destination,
v31. “AND SAID, CORNELIUS, THY PRAYER IS HEARD, AND THINE ALMS ARE HAD IN REMEMBERANCE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.”
This messenger said that his prayers had been heard and that his alms, his giving, was remembered by God.
v32. “SEND THEREFORE TO JOPPA, AND CALL HITHER SIMON, WHOSE SURNAME IS PETER; HE IS LODGED IN THE HOUSE OF one SIMON A TANNER BY THE SEA SIDE: WHO, WHEN HE COMETH, SHALL SPEAK UNTO THEE.”
Here Cornelius repeats the instructions he was given. Here the translations will differ somewhat. In most versions, except the King James the verse ends with the words sea side, the rest of the verse does not appear in many of the Greek texts.
v33. “IMMEDIATELY THEREFORE I SENT TO THEE; AND THOU HAST WELL DONE THAT THOU ART COME. NOW THEREFORE ARE WE ALL HERE PRESENT BEFORE GOD, TO HEAR ALL THINGS THAT ARE COMMANDED THEE OF GOD.”
Cornelius had been instructed to send for Peter and that’s exactly what he did. He commends Peter for coming so quickly. Now he gets down to the purpose of their gathering. These people are gathered with one purpose in mind and that’s to hear the word of God. They want to know what God has commanded so they can obey.
Read Acts 10:34-43
v34. “THEN PETER OPEN his MOUTH, AND SAID, OF A TRUTH I PERCEIVE THAT GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS:”
Peter begins his speech or teaching of the household, kinsmen and friends of Cornelius. He now understands the significance of his vision, the significance of the messenger to Cornelius and realizes that God has chosen him to take the gospel of Christ to this family of Gentiles. Actually, when we tie the related scriptures together it shouldn’t seem strange to us either, even though Paul was the apostle chosen to go to the Gentile peoples, why?
Matthew “AND IT WILL GIVE UNTO THEE THE KEYS OF THE
Peter has the keys to the kingdom. He opened the gates to the Hebrew in
Deuteronomy 10:17 “FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD is GOD OF GODS, AND LORD OF LORDS, A GREAT GOD, A MIGHTY, AND A TERRIBLE, WHICH REGARDETH NOT PERSONS, NOR TAKETH REWARD:”
Romans 2:11-12 “FOR THERE IS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD. FOR AS MANY AS HAVE SINNED WITHOUT LAW SHALL PERISH WITHOUT LAW: AND AS MANY AS HAVE SINNED IN THE LAW SHALL BE JUDGED BY THE LAW;”
Others Ephesians 6:9, Colossians and
I Peter “AND IF YE CALL ON THE FATHER, WHO WITHOUT RESPECT OF PERSONS JUDGETH ACCORDING TO EVERY MAN’S WORK, PASS THE TIME OF YOUR SOJOURNING here IN FEAR.”
v35. “BUT IN EVERY NATION HE THAT FEARETH HIM, AND WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, IS ACCEPTED OF HIM.”
We only have to go to the next verse in the reference from the Roman letter that we just looked at to get a further explanation from the apostle.
Romans “(FOR NOT THE HEARERS OF THE LAW are JUST BEFORE GOD, BUT THE DOERS OF THE LAW SHALL BE JUSTIFIED.”
So it doesn’t matter what tribe, what nationality, what country of origin, what color of skin, whether our eyes have a fold at their corners or whether they’re round, it only matters to God that we are faithful to him. Oh, we understand that we have different cultures, we are different peoples in many ways but we are all children of God if we have accepted his Word:
“FOR BY ONE SPIRIT ARE WE ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, WHETHER we be JEWS OR GENTILES, WHETHER we be BOND OR FREE; AND HAVE BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT.” I Corinthians 12:13
Do we have
those kinds of prejudices today? Of
course they exist. Many of the old
prejudices of years past are still active and practiced in
v36. “THE WORD WHICH God SENT UNTO THE
Peter points out that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, that is all mankind.
Isaiah 57:19 “I CREATE THE FRUIT OF THE LIPS; PEACE, PEACE TO him that is FAR OFF, AND TO him that is NEAR, SAITH THE LORD; AND I WILL HEAL HIM.”
After all Jesus gave his disciples and us this charge:
“AND JESUS CAME AND SPAKE UNTO THEM, SAYING, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH. GO YE THEREFORE, AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST.” Matthew 28:18-19
v37. “THAT WORD, I say, YE KNOW, WHICH WAS PUBLISHED THROUGHOUT ALL JUDAEA, AND BEGAN FROM GALILEE, AFTER THE BAPTISM WHICH JOHN PREACHED;”
v38. “HOW GOD ANOINTED JESUS OF
and to be specific Peter identifies him as being from
“AND THE HOLY GHOST DESCENDED IN A BODILY SHAPE LIKE A DOVE UPON HIM, AND A VOICE CAME FROM HEAVEN, WHICH SAID, THOU ART MY BELOVED SON; IN THEE I AM WELL PLEASED.” Luke 3:22
This man went about doing good and healing all those who were possessed of the devil, those that had evil spirits or demons. Even those of the Pharisees, the Jewish rulers, such as Nicodemus, recognized that he could not do what he did without the assistance of Jehovah God:
John 3:2 “THE SAME CAME TO JESUS BY NIGHT, AND SAID UNTO HIM, RABBI, WE KNOW THAT THOU ART A TEACHER COME FROM GOD: FOR NO MAN CAN DO THESE MIRACLES THAT THOU DOEST, EXCEPT GOD BE WITH HIM.”
v39. “AND WE ARE WITNESSES OF ALL THINGS WHICH HE
DID BOTH IN THE LAND OF THE JEWS, AND IN
Jesus said they were to be witnesses:
Acts 1:8 “BUT
YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER, AFTER THAT THE HOLY GHOST IS COME UPON YOU: AND YE
SHALL BE WITNESSES UNTO ME BOTH IN
Peter was one of those witnesses; just as he said in his sermon on Pentecost:
Acts “THIS JESUS HATH GOD RAISED UP, WHEREOF WE ALL ARE WITNESSES.”
And he was witness to many other things as well, here he says of all the things that Jesus did in the
land of the Jews and in
v40. “HIM GOD RAISED UP THE THIRD DAY, AND SHOWED HIM OPENLY.”
God raised this Jesus from the dead and showed him openly, again from Peter’s Pentecost sermon:
“WHOM GOD HATH RAISED UP, HAVING LOOSED THE PAINS OF DEATH: BECAUSE IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE SHOULD BE HOLDEN OF IT.” Acts
And sent; not all people as witnesses, but his chosen apostles, who ate and drank with him after his resurrection; as witnesses who could and would testify regarding the fact of his resurrection.
v41. “NOT TO ALL THE PEOPLE, BUT UNTO WITNESSES CHOSEN BEFORE OF GOD, even TO US, WHO DID EAT AND DRINK WITH HIM AFTER HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD.”
In addition to Peter’s testimony we also have Paul’s in the synagogues of Antioch of Pisidia:
Acts “AND HE WAS SEEN
MANY DAYS OF THEM WHICH CAME UP WITH HIM FROM
John testified of seeing him in his writing:
John 21:11-12 “SIMON PETER WENT UP, AND DREW THE NET TO LAND FULL OF GREAT FISHES, AN HUNDRED AND FIFTY AND THREE AND FOR ALL THERE WERE SO MANY, YET WAS NOT THE NET BROKEN. JESUS SAITH UNTO THEM, COME and DINE. AND NONE OF THE DISCIPLES DURST ASK HIM, WHO ART THOU? KNOWING THAT IT WAS THE LORD.”
v42. “AND HE COMMANDED US TO PREACH UNTO THE PEOPLE, AND TO TESTIFY THAT IT IS HE WHICH WAS ORDAINED OF GOD to be THE JUDGE OF QUICK AND DEAD.”
Peter, first of all relates the commandment to preach unto the people:
“GO YE THEREFORE, AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPITZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST: TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: AND, LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, even UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD. AMEN.” Matthew 28:19-20
What does this word quick mean that we find in the KJV? Alive. Christ lived and died that he might be qualified to judge both the living and the dead:
Romans 14:9-10 “FOR TO THIS END CHRIST BOTH DIED, AND ROSE, AND REVIVED, THAT HE MIGHT BE LORD BOTH OF THE DEAD AND LIVING. BUT WHY DOST THOU JUDGE THY BROTHER? OR WHY DOST THOU SET AT NOUGHT THY BROTHER? FOR WE SHALL ALL STAND BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.”
II Corinthians 5:10 “FOR WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST; THAT EVERY ONE MAY RECEIVE THE THINGS done IN his BODY, ACCORDING TO THAT HE HATH DONE, WHETHER it be GOOD OR BAD.”
v43. “TO HIM GIVE ALL THE PROPHETS WITNESS, THAT THROUGH HIS NAME WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALL RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS.”
Peter continues that all the prophets of the Old Testament period spoke of Jesus; the most quoted and probably the best remembered is:
Isaiah 53:11 “HE SHALL SEE OF THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL, and SHALL BE SATISFIED: BY HIS KNOWLEDGE SHALL MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT JUSTIFY MANY; FOR HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES.”
But there were many others including:
Micah “WHO is A GOD LIKE UNTO THEE, THAT PARDONETH INIQUITY, AND PASSETH BY THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE REMANT OF HIS HERITAGE? HE RETAINETH NOT HIS ANGER FOR EVER, BECAUSE HE DELIGHTETH in MERCY.”
Zechariah 13:1 “IN THAT DAY THERE SHALL BE
A FOUNTAIN OPENED TO THE HOUSE OF DAVID AND TO THE INHABITANTS OF
Read Acts 10:44-48
v44. “WHILE PETER YET SPAKE THESE WORDS, THE HOLY GHOST FELL ON ALL THEM WHICH HEARD THE WORD.”
We have four instances of a full measure of the Holy Spirit being given or poured out on a person or people in the New Testament. And those four occasions are?
The first was Jesus:
Luke 3:22 “22And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
The second was the occasion of the
Acts 2:4 “AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.”
The third is when Paul was filled with the Holy Ghost. Ananias was a simple preacher, not an apostle, so he did not have the power to provide Saul with the power of the Holy Spirit; it came from Jesus Christ.
Acts 9:17 “AND ANANIAS WENT HIS WAY, AND ENTERED INTO THE HOUSE; AND PUTTING HIS HANDS ON HIM SAID, BROTHER SAUL, THE LORD, even JESUS, THAT APPEARED UNTO THEE IN THE WAY AS THOU CAMEST, HATH SENT ME, THAT THOU MIGHTEST RECEIVE THY SIGHT, AND BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST.”
and then this occasion in Acts where God used this means to leave no doubt that the Gentile people were also accepted by Him as citizens in His kingdom, children of His.
v45. “AND THEY OF THE CIRCUMCISION WHICH BELIEVED WERE ASTONISHED, AS MANY AS CAME WITH PETER, BECAUSE THAT ON THE GENTILES ALSO WAS POURED OUT THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.”
These six Jewish brethren who came with Peter are now witness something that they never expected to see. God without prejudice or favor leaves absolutely no doubt that these Gentile people were accepted by him. They understood the measure of the Holy Spirit that Peter exercised; they probably understood that the other apostles shared the same power and they probably understood that certain capabilities, such as speaking in unlearned languages, healing the sick, and others could be given to children of God through the hands of the apostles but here was something that totally astonished them. These Gentiles received the full measure of the Holy Spirit, from God, not from Peter.
v46. “FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES, AND MAGNIFY GOD. THEN ANSWERED PETER,”
The same signs found on Pentecost were present:
Acts 2:4 “AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.”
This was an outward manifestation that was unmistakable. Perhaps that is why many of the people today who claim to have the power of the Holy Spirit also claim to be able to speak in tongues. Peter then, recognizing that God had accepted these Gentiles:
v47. “CAN ANY MAN FORBID WATER, THAT THESE SHOULD NOT BE BAPTIZED, WHICH HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST AS WELL AS WE?”
These Gentile people have just been baptized or immersed in the power of the Holy Spirit they must be saved, then aren’t they? The world, the denominations would say they were. Even with God’s manifestation of His acceptance of them; these people still were not saved. They still needed to be baptized. Peter, as he testifies later, was not going to stand against what God has plainly ordained:
Acts “FORASMUCH THEN AS GOD GAVE THEM THE LIKE GIFT AS he did UNTO US, WHO BELIEVED ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST; WHAT WAS I, THAT I COULD WITHSTAND GOD?”
and again in another place:
Acts 15:8-9 “AND GOD, WHICH KNOWETH THE HEARTS, BARE THEM WITNESS, GIVING THEM THE HOLY GHOST, EVEN AS he did UNTO US; AND PUT NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND THEM, PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH.”
and provides mankind the undeniable evidence that Paul speaks of in his writing:
Romans “FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK: FOR THE SAME LORD OVER ALL IS RICH UNTO ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM.”
v48. “AND HE COMMANDED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. THEN PRAYED THEY HIM TO TARRY CERTAIN DAYS.”
Just as at Pentecost, Peter also had the Gentile believers baptized:
Acts “THEN PETER SAID UNTO THEM, REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.”
just as the Samaritans:
Acts “(FOR AS YET HE WAS FALLEN UPON NONE OF THEM: ONLY THEY WERE BAPITZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.)”
Thus we have the record of the first conversion of Gentile peoples to the cause of Christ. But that should have been expected, it was prophesied:
Isaiah 56:6-7 “ALSO THE SONS OF THE STRANGER, THAT JOIN THEMSELVES TO THE LORD, TO SERVE HIM, AND TO LOVE THE NAME OF THE LORD, TO BE HIS SERVANTS, EVERY ONE THAT KEEPETH THE SABBATH FROM POLLUTING IT, AND TAKETH HOLD OF MY COVENANT; EVEN THEM WILL I BRING TO MY HOLY MOUNTAIN, AND MAKE THEM JOYFUL IN MY HOUSE OF PRAYER: THEIR BURNT OFFERINGS AND THEIR SACRIFICES shall be ACCEPTED UPON MINE ALTAR; FOR MINE HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED AN HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE.”
when the angel appeared to the shepherds to tell them about the birth of Jesus, his words tells us that this blessing was to be to all people:
Luke “AND THE ANGEL SAID UNTO THEM, FEAR NOT: FOR, BEHOLD, I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL PEOPLE.”