Monday, 4 March 2013

Theme Number 24 Contents: Peter opens the gospel door to the Gentiles.

Cornelius and the Ange
Acts 10:1-48

1) Cornelius sends for Peter and Peter goes to Caesarea.
Act 10:1  In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, who was the captain of a group of soldiers called "The Italian Unit."
Act 10:2  Cornelius was a very religious man. He worshiped God, and so did everyone else who lived in his house. He had given a lot of money to the poor and was always praying to God.
Act 10:3  One afternoon at about three o'clock, Cornelius had a vision. He saw an angel from God coming to him and calling him by name.
Act 10:4  Cornelius was surprised and stared at the angel. Then he asked, "What is this all about?" The angel answered, "God has heard your prayers and knows about your gifts to the poor.
Act 10:5  Now send some men to Joppa for a man named Simon Peter.

Notes:This chapter Acts 10 commences a very important part of the history of the transactions of the apostles. Before this, they had preached the gospel to the Jews only. They seemed to have retained the feelings of their countrymen on this subject, that the Jews were to be regarded as the especially favored people, and that salvation was not to be offered beyond the limits of their nation. It was important, indeed, that the gospel should be offered to them first; but the whole tendency of the Christian religion was to enlarge and liberalize the mind; to overcome the narrow policy and prejudices of the Jewish people; and to diffuse itself over all the nations of the earth. In various ways, and by various parables, the Saviour had taught the apostles, indeed, that his gospel should he spread among the Gentiles. He had commanded them to go and preach it to every creature, Mar_16:15. But he had told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high, Luk_24:49.
It was natural, therefore, that they should receive special instructions and divine revelation on a point so important as this; and God selected the case of Cornelius as the instance by which he would fully establish his purpose of conveying the gospel to the Gentile world. Barnes Notes.

Cornelius sends to Joppa to Call Peter
Peter was a typical Jew in that they would not enter the home of a gentile (non-Jew) nor eat with them. So for the Gospel to break out from its Jewish confines,  a change of mentality was needed.  The Lord repeated the vision three times so that Peter really understood.

Act 10:8  He explained everything to them and sent them off to Joppa.
Act 10:9  The next day about noon these men were coming near Joppa. Peter went up on the roof of the house to pray
Act 10:10  and became very hungry. While the food was being prepared, he fell sound asleep and had a vision.
Act 10:11  He saw heaven open, and something came down like a huge sheet held up by its four corners.
Act 10:12  In it were all kinds of animals, snakes, and birds.
Act 10:13  A voice said to him, "Peter, get up! Kill these and eat them."
Act 10:14  But Peter said, "Lord, I can't do that! I've never eaten anything that is unclean and not fit to eat." (anything that is common and unclean. )

The Sheet let down from heaven
I have never eaten ... - In the Old Testament God had made a distinction between clean and unclean animals. See Lev. 11:2-27; Deut. 14:3-20. This law remained in the Scriptures, and Peter pled that he had never violated it, implying that he could not now violate it, as it was a law of God, and that, as it was unrepealed, he did not dare to act in a different manner from what it required.
That is common - This word properly denotes “what pertains to all,” but among the Jews, who were bound by special laws, and who were prohibited from many things that were freely indulged in by other nations, the word “common” came to be opposed to the word “sacred,” and to denote what was in common use among the pagans, hence, that which was “profane,” or “polluted.” Here it means the same as “profane,” or “forbidden.”
Unclean - Ceremonially unclean; that is, what is forbidden by the ceremonial law of Moses.

Act 10:15  The voice spoke to him again, "When God says that something can be used for food, don't say it isn't fit to eat."
Act 10:16  This happened three times before the sheet was suddenly taken back to heaven.
Act 10:17  Peter was still wondering what all of this meant, when the men sent by Cornelius came and stood at the gate. They had found their way to Simon's house
Act 10:18  and were asking if Simon Peter was staying there.
Act 10:19  While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, "Three men are here looking for you.
Act 10:20  Hurry down and go with them. Don't worry, I sent them."
Act 10:21  Peter went down and said to the men, "I am the one you are looking for. Why have you come?"

1. Cornelius was a faithful, God fearing man who worshipped God and prayed and gave alms.
2. God rewarded his faith by sending an angel to Him to instruct him.
3. Peter is prepared to go to a gentiles home via a Vision.

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