Peter & Cornelius: the Gentiles Received into the Assembly
Acts 10 – 11
Acts 10 – 11
Acts 10 – 11. In Matthew 16, in response to his blessed confession of Christ as Son of the Living God, Peter was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. He had the privilege of “opening the door” of the Christian profession to the Jew (at Pentecost, Acts 2) and then wider to the Gentiles (at the house of Cornelius, Acts 10 – 11). Cornelius is an example of one who is quickened by being born again, but not saved or sealed with the Spirit.
1 But a certain man in Caesarea, — by name Cornelius, a centurion of the band called Italic, 2 pious, and fearing God with all his house, both giving much alms to the people, and supplicating God continually, 3 — saw plainly in a vision, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming unto him, and saying to him, Cornelius.
4 But he, having fixed his eyes upon him, and become full of fear, said, What is it, Lord? And he said to him, Thy prayers and thine alms have gone up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa and fetch Simon, who is surnamed Peter. 6 He lodges with a certain Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. 7 And when the angel who was speaking to him had departed, having called two of his household and a pious soldier of those who were constantly with him, 8 and related all things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
9 And on the morrow, as these were journeying and drawing near to the city, Peter went up on the house to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 And he became hungry and desired to eat. But as they were making ready an ecstasy came upon him: 11 and he beholds the heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending, as a great sheet, bound by the four corners and let down to the earth; 12 in which were all the quadrupeds and creeping things of the earth, and the fowls of the heaven. 13 And there was a voice to him, Rise, Peter, slay and eat. 14 And Peter said, In no wise, Lord; for I have never eaten anything common or unclean. 15 And there was a voice again the second time to him, What God has cleansed, do not “thou” make common. 16 And this took place thrice, and the vessel was straightway taken up into heaven.
17 And as Peter doubted in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold also the men who were sent by Cornelius, having sought out the house of Simon, stood at the gate, 18 and having called some one, they inquired if Simon who was surnamed Peter was lodged there. 19 But as Peter continued pondering over the vision, the Spirit said to him, Behold, three men seek thee; 20 but rise up, go down, and go with them, nothing doubting, because “I” have sent them. 21 And Peter going down to the men said, Behold, “I” am he whom ye seek: what is the cause for which ye come? 22 And they said, Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous man, and fearing God, and borne witness to by the whole nation of the Jews, has been divinely instructed by a holy angel to send for thee to his house, and hear words from thee. 23 Having therefore invited them in, he lodged them. And on the morrow, rising up he went away with them, and certain of the brethren from Joppa went with him. 24 And on the morrow they came to Caesarea. But Cornelius was looking for them, having called together his kinsmen and his intimate friends. 25 And when Peter was now coming in, Cornelius met him, and falling down did him homage. 26 But Peter made him rise, saying, Rise up: “I” myself also am a man. 27 And he went in, talking with him, and found many gathered together. 28 And he said to them, “Ye” know how it is unlawful for a Jew to be joined or come to one of a strange race, and to “me” God has shewn to call no man common or unclean. 29 Wherefore also, having been sent for, I came without saying anything against it. I inquire therefore for what reason ye have sent for me. 30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I had been fasting unto this hour, and the ninth I was praying in my house, and lo, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, Cornelius, thy prayer has been heard, and thy alms have come in remembrance before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and fetch Simon, who is surnamed Peter; he lodges in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea who when he is come will speak to thee. 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee, and “thou” hast well done in coming. Now therefore “we” are all present before God to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 34 And Peter opening his mouth said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, 35 but in every nation he that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him. 36 The word which he sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, (“he” is Lord of all things,) 37 “ye” know; the testimony which has spread through the whole of Judaea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached — 38 Jesus who was of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went through all quarters doing good, and healing all that were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We” also are witnesses of all things which he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom they also slew, having hanged him on a cross. 40 This man God raised up the third day and gave him to be openly seen, 41 not of all the people, but of witnesses who were chosen before of God, “us” who have eaten and drunk with him after he arose from among the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that “he” it is who was determinately appointed of God to be judge of living and dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that every one that believes on him will receive through his name remission of sins. 44 While Peter was yet speaking these words the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were hearing the word. 45 And the faithful of the circumcision were astonished, as many as came with Peter, that upon the nations also the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out: 46 for they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, 47 Can any one forbid water that these should not be baptised, who have received the Holy Spirit as we also did? 48 And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord. Then they begged him to stay some days.
1 And the apostles and the brethren who were in Judaea heard that the nations also had received the word of God; 2 and when Peter went up to Jerusalem, they of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised and hast eaten with them. 4 But Peter began and set forth the matter to them in order, saying, 5 I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in an ecstasy I saw a vision, a certain vessel descending like a great sheet, let down by four corners out of heaven, and it came even to me: 6 on which having fixed mine eyes, I considered, and saw the quadrupeds of the earth, and the wild beasts, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the heaven. 7 And I heard also a voice saying to me, Rise up, Peter, slay and eat. 8 And I said, In no wise, Lord, for common or unclean has never entered into my mouth. 9 And a voice answered the second time out of heaven, What God has cleansed, do not “thou” make common. 10 And this took place thrice, and again all was drawn up into heaven; 11 and lo, immediately three men were at the house in which I was, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit said to me to go with them, nothing doubting. And there went with me these six brethren also, and we entered into the house of the man, 13 and he related to us how he had seen the angel in his house, standing and saying to him, Send men to Joppa and fetch Simon, who is surnamed Peter, 14 who shall speak words to thee whereby “thou” shalt be saved, thou and all thy house. 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them even as upon us also at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John baptised with water, but “ye” shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit. 17 If then God has given them the same gift as also to us when we had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who indeed was “I” to be able to forbid God? 18 And when they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then indeed God has to the nations also granted repentance to life.
Antioch Emerges: Focus taken Off Jerusalem (11:19-30)
19 They then who had been scattered abroad through the tribulation that took place on the occasion of Stephen, passed through the country to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one but to Jews alone. 20 But there were certain of them, Cyprians and Cyrenians, who entering into Antioch spoke to the Greeks also, announcing the glad tidings of the Lord Jesus. 21 And the Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22 And the report concerning them reached the ears of the assembly which was in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go through as far as Antioch: 23 who, having arrived and seeing the grace of God, rejoiced, and exhorted all with purpose of heart to abide with the Lord; 24 for he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith; and a large crowd of people were added to the Lord. 25 And he went away to Tarsus to seek out Saul. 26 And having found him, he brought him to Antioch. And so it was with them that for a whole year they were gathered together in the assembly and taught a large crowd: and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. 27 Now in these days prophets went down from Jerusalem to Antioch; 28 and one from among them, by name Agabus, rose up and signified by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine over all the inhabited earth, which also came to pass under Claudius. 29 And they determined, according as any one of the disciples was well off, each of them to send to the brethren who dwelt in Judaea, to minister to them; 30 which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.