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The Book of ACTS
THEME: Conversion of Cornelius, the Roman centurion (son of Japheth)
Chapter 10 continues the record of the ministry of Simon Peter. Soon Peter will pass from the scene, and the history will continue with the ministry of the apostle Paul. Although Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, Peter opened the door to the Gentiles by entering the home of Cornelius and presenting salvation through Christ to his household.
Cornelius' Vision (10:1-8)
Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, (KJV)
The scene changes from Joppa to Cæsarea, about thirty miles north along the Mediterranean shore. We shall now see another case of conversion, a Gentile and a soldier.
Paul had been in Caesarea (Acts 9:30) and probably some of the other apostles had been preaching the Gospel along the coast. Today, Tel Aviv is really a part of the old Joppa. Caesarea was where Pilate lived. The governor and those who ruled the land stayed there. This is where Cornelius was stationed. He was a centurion, meaning he was a commander of 100 soldiers in the Roman army.
Cæsarea, at this time was the chief seaport of Palestine and the Roman capital, and was their military headquarters. Cornelius, a Gentile, a Roman officer, is one of three centurions named favorably in the New Testament: Julius (Acts 27:1-3), the centurion at the cross, and the centurion who built the synagogue at Capernaum (Luke 7:2). Centurion corresponded to the modern captain. The Italian band was a regiment consisting of about 600 men. Many of the conquered races served in the Roman armies, but this regiment was made up of Italians.
At least 10 centurions are mentioned in the New Testament (Mt. 8:5; 27:54; Lk. 7:6; Acts 10:1; 21:32; 22:25; 23:17,23; 27:1).
Acts 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. (KJV)
He was a devout man means his worship was rightly directed toward the One and only God. Remember that even a pagan can have devotion and a deep conviction to his 'gods'. It would be wonderful if "Christians" today had more devotion and conviction.
He was a devout man and one that feared God. He gave much alms to the people means he gave many gifts of charity to the Jewish people.
Let's consider some things about this man:
- #1. He is a “devout man”. . . he had deep religious feelings.
- #2. He “fears God,” the true God.
- #3. He must have been somewhat acquainted with the Jewish religion.
- #4. He is not a Jew, being uncircumcised.
- #5. He is not a timid or unfaithful worshiper of God, but has taught all his family the same worship.
- #6. He gives much alms to the people.
- #7. He prays to God.
Does it seem strange to you that such a "good" man would need conversion? My friend, there are many "good" people in today's world who flatter themselves that their prospects for eternity are good. They are honest in their business, honorable in their association with men, good husbands and fathers, generous to their neighbors, and give to the poor, etc. What would they have to fear at the hands of a just and merciful God?
These people forget that their obligations to God are much higher than those to men, even to the dearest friends and loved ones on Earth. It is absolutely an inexcusable sin to stubbornly refuse God the worship which is His due. This is an offense of ingratitude! We must remember His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19) which has been shed on the cross, for us, and His wondrous love that made the way of pardon and eternal life open to us! Many "good" people deny Christ!
But, Cornelius was a praying man, a devout worshiper of God. He possessed every virtue claimed by self-righteous sinners . . . but . . . it was necessary for even him to hear words by which he might be saved. Until a man can claim something more than is here said of Cornelius, he has no hope of salvation.
Under the former dispensation, the piety and devotion of Cornelius would have given him an honorable place among the holy men of God; BUT that is not enough now. Jesus the Christ had stepped in between God and man, and opened, through the rent vail of His flesh, the only access to God (John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12). All Heaven had confessed His authority, and the holy disciples on Earth had come to the Father by Him.
But Cornelius was still calling upon God, without the Name of Christ, and trying to approach God by the old way. He was in the same condition with any pious but unbelieving Jew of that day OR today. It was necessary to Cornelius's salvation that he must believe in Christ Jesus and obey Him. Only that would pardon his sins and gain him access to Heaven, something which he, nor anyone else can do by worshiping according to the law. After Jesus came, we are under grace, NOT Jewish law! (Rom.6:14; Eph.2:8-9).
Acts 10:3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. (KJV)
The more I study the Word of God, the more I see just how little I know! I look forward to one day sitting at Jesus' Feet as He teaches (Luke 10:39). Also the more I study the Word of God, the more I see just how God does work in mysterious ways. God sends an angel to Cornelius. WOW!
This centurion was an officer in the Roman army, a career officer, and a man of influence. He also had great influence in his own household, as we shall see. He was a good man to all outward observation . . . like SO many today! In America today he would pass for a Christian, a Christian of the highest degree, an outstanding man. But he was NOT a Christian. He had never heard the Gospel.
He is an example of a man who lived up to the light which he had. John 1:9 says this of Jesus: "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." This centurion had not met Christ Jesus nor ever come into His Presence, but he was living up to the light that he had.
Paul is referring to those who do NOT live by the light they have in: Rom.1:19-20 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (KJV)
Many people ask: "What about the pagan, that 'good' heathen, who wants to know God but never had a chance? Is he lost?" The answer is that God will get light to such a person. God will enable him to hear the Gospel.
Now God gets the Gospel to Cornelius. The barriers seem insurmountable. The church at this time . . . and for the first eight years, was exclusively Jewish. Now God going to open the door of the Gospel to the Gentiles! Paul is to be the great missionary to the Gentiles, but God has Paul out in the desert in Arabia, training him there. It is Simon Peter who must open the door to the Gentiles. God used perhaps the most prejudiced and religious bigot, the greatest extremist of the day. Clearly, the Holy Spirit directed every move in getting the Gospel to the Gentiles. My friend, ALL true Christian work is directed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had to work in the heart of the Gentile; the Holy Spirit had to work in the heart of the Jew. The Holy Spirit directed the bringing of the Gospel to the Gentile world.
Acts 10:4 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. (KJV)
An angel of God appeared to Cornelius in a vision. He was not dreaming but was given this vision while he was praying. There are certain things that do count with God. These are things which can in NO way merit salvation, but they are things which God notices. The prayers of Cornelius and his alms were noticed by God, and God brought the Gospel to him. All being performed in simplicity and godly sincerity, they were acceptable to the Most High.
Cornelius was searching! And anyone who searches, finds God! That person is going to hear the Gospel of the grace of God. God will see that he gets it. I believe this.
Acts 10:5-6 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. (KJV)
The angel tells Cornelius where to find Peter. He does not need more of an address. The smell of those hides down in that vat will lead them to the right place!
Acts 10:7-8 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; 8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. (KJV)
These men will not have trouble finding the tanner's house. But, while they are on their way, God must prepare Simon Peter.
Peter's Vision (10:9-22)
Acts 10:9 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: (KJV)
It was absolutely necessary for God to prepare Simon Peter. Even though Peter didn't have the background or the training that Paul had, God could use him in a different way. It is a BIG mistake to think that every person has to be highly educated for God to use him/her. When I read the following, I know this is true! I am proof of this. 1 Cor.1:26-31 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (KJV)
Acts 10:10-12 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 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: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. (KJV)
Do you see what all was shown to Peter in his trance? This was possibly a spellbound condition, where he was transported into a mental condition that enabled him to see divine things (2 Cor 12:2; Rev 1:10).
In Acts 11:5, Peter says that in a trance he saw a vision. The word trance means a state of mind where the person's attention is completely absorbed in a particular train of thought, that the external senses are totally suspended. Balaam is said to have seen the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance (Num.24:4,16) and Paul when praying in the temple, fell into a trance (Acts 22:17) and perhaps also in 2 Cor.12:2. In Peter's case, there was a divine influence that drew his attention away from all present objects.
Acts 10:13-14 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. (KJV)
While Peter is baffled, and wondering what all this means, a Voice speaks to him. Quite interesting that he calls Him, "Lord," . . . BUT he does NOT obey what the Lord tells him to do!
Consider, here is a man who is on this side of the Day of Pentecost. He is living in this age of grace (Rom.6:14) when it makes no difference whether we eat meat or whether we don't eat meat. BUT . . . . Peter is still hanging on to the Mosaic system and he is not going to eat anything that is ceremonially unclean (Deut.14:3-19; Lev.11:1-23). Peter is very sincere and honest about it. The Lord is teaching him that he is no longer under the Mosaic system and is free to eat anything. Today there is a big problem, some people decide they don't want to eat meat and then they want everyone else to do the same. Under grace you can eat meat if you want to, or not eat meat. That is up to you. Eating some certain food may give you indigestion, but it certainly will NOT change your relationship with the Lord.
Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (KJV)
Again, the Voice speaking very clearly: What God has made clean, don't you call it unclean. Any time that God commands you to do a thing, it is NOT impure or wrong.
The distinction between clean and unclean food, as recognized by the Jews, was about to be abolished (Acts 17). That barrier was to be broken down, and the whole world was to be admitted to the same fellowship and privileges in the Gospel (Eph.2:14-17; Gal.3:28-29).
The ceremonial laws of the Jews were designed solely to show the distinction between them and other nations. When the distinction was abolished . . . all other nations were to be admitted to the same privileges under the grace of God through His precious and Holy Son (Rom.6:14).
It was not easy to convince the Jews that their laws stopped to be binding at the Coming of the Messiah. This was something the apostles worked hard to establish; because from this point arose most of the difficulties between the Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity (Acts 15, Romans 14, Romans 15).
"That call not thou common" or unclean (Acts 10:28, Mat.15:11; Rom.14:14; 1 Cor.10:25; 1 Tim.4:4).
Acts 10:16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. (KJV)
The vision of the sheet was done three times, most likely to impress upon Peter the certainty and importance of the vision. Genesis 41:32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. (KJV) . . . Before God sent the famine, He gave Pharaoh a dream about it twice.
Acts 10:17-22 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 enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. 19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. (KJV)
Peter is now brought back to his natural state of mind. Remaining on the housetop, he reflects upon the vision, and wondering if there was not some meaning in it besides that in reference to unclean animals. His question was soon solved.
God's Divine wisdom is always skillfully arranged. There will be separate 'happenings' which shall remove Peter's prejudices, and they will all be combined into one harmonious action. Those men have been traveling for two days, but God had measured their steps to the house of Simon. God had timed the appearance of the vision to the motion of the men's feet! When the men reach the gate, Peter is still on the housetop. He is completely absorbed in reflecting the puzzling event. But, so they can be admitted to the house, the Holy Spirit has now sent Peter down to meet them.
Acts 10:21-22 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? 22 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. (KJV)
As of yet, Peter knows nothing of the nature of the men's mission, and neither does he yet understand any better than before the meaning of the three fold, confusing vision.
What is the cause therefore ye are come? . . . Why are you here? Peter asks. He still did not know the full importance of the vision; but being informed by the Holy Spirit that three men were seeking him, and that he should go with them, he would go without hesitation.
Cornelius the centurion . . . (Acts 10:2). When he heard the words they spoke, things started to make sense. No less than an angel from God had sent these men to call Peter into the house of a Gentile, to preach the Gospel to him. Peter's vision of clean and unclean beasts is no longer a befuddled mystery. God had cleansed the Gentiles, and Peter is no longer to call them unclean. Jews (even Jesus) called Gentiles "dogs" (Ps.22:16; Mat.7:6; 15:26; Mark 7:27; Phil.3:2).
The Spirit had commanded Peter to go with these men, and he went without doubting. The authority of God, of an angel, of the Holy Spirit, all impel Peter. He can resist no longer. His prejudice is gone, and I'm sure he feels a great joy in his heart.
Simon Peter is to go to Caesarea. That little delegation from Cornelius gave an explanation to Peter, then invites him to come with them to the house of Cornelius.
The Conversion Of Cornelius (10:23-48)
Acts 10:23-25 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. 25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. (KJV)
Then called he them in . . . the men had came a long way in a short time. They were tired and needed refreshment; so they rested that night with Simon the tanner.
Certain brethren from Joppa . . . there were six brethren, as we learn from Acts 11:12. It was necessary that there be several witnesses go with Peter because of the important things which were about to take place. It would be no small thing that forgiveness, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit, should be granted to the Gentiles.
His kinsmen and near friends . . . Cornelius had quite an influence on his family and friends. He had called many together for this occasion; his kinsmen, his domestics, and his friends. It seems that he had collected a whole circle of those close to him, that they also might benefit by a revelation which Cornelius expected to come immediately from Heaven. These amounted to many persons (Acts 10:27).
We can see that Cornelius is still a pagan, a heathen. When he is instructed by an angel to send for Simon Peter, Cornelius assumes that this man must really be important; so he falls down and worships Peter.
It is VERY interesting to see Simon Peter's reaction to this! My friend, Simon Peter would never permit it.
Acts 10:26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. (KJV)
Peter reached down and pulled Cornelius to his feet: Stand up; I myself also am a man. I like the way he did that.
Acts 10:27-28 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. 28 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 shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (KJV)
Peter stepped into the house. What a giant step that was for him! It was the first time that Peter had ever been in a Gentile house. I feel certain that he is still really a little baffled at God's command to go there.
What Peter says is not a friendly thing to say. In fact, it really is an insult. What he really said was: "If you really want to know how I felt about this, well, I just didn't want to come. I've never been in the home of a Gentile before. Never before have I gone into a place that is unclean!" But he does go on to add, "Even though I have never before been in an unclean home, God has told me not to call any man unclean. We all are sinners and we all can be saved."
Because God had showed him that there was neither clean nor unclean, he continues his message.
Acts 10:29 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? (KJV)
Then Peter asked him: "Why have you sent for me?" . . . Peter had already been told why, by the servants of Cornelius (Acts 10:22). But when he entered the house of this Gentile, side by side with him, and into the presence of others who were also uncircumcised (non-Jews), Peter thought it best to inform them of his reason for departing from a well-known Jewish custom. The way he spoke shows clearly that Peter had interpreted the vision of unclean beasts as referring to men as well as to animal food.
Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, (KJV)
Four days ago I was fasting until this hour . . . (Acts 10:23) . . . the 9th hour, meaning 3:00 p.m. (Acts 10:3). It seems that Cornelius had continued his fasts from three o'clock the preceding day to three o'clock the day following. It is not known if he had fasted four days consecutively. He may have eaten just one meal on each day.
Acts 10:31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. (KJV)
Thy prayer is heard . . . (Acts 10:4). Cornelius prayed, fasted, and gave alms. It was in this way he looked for salvation; not to purchase it: a thought of this kind does not appear to have entered into his mind; but these were the means he used to get his soul brought to the knowledge of the Truth.
Alms . . . (Acts 10:4) the alms were seen by God, but they may also be seen by men. In the sight of God . . . not only the outward gift, but the inward affection, is visible to God; and is pleasing in God's eyes.
Acts 10:32 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. (KJV)
The substance of this verse is in Acts 10:5-6. Cornelius is just telling Peter why he sent for him, since Peter was a stranger to him; but also to encourage Peter to speak in such a matter as God had granted him.
Acts 10:33 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. (KJV)
Immediately therefore I sent to thee . . . just as a hungry man does not delay to send for food, as soon as he knows where to have it.
Thou hast well done that thou art come . . . this is an expression of gratitude, that Peter had come; which not only approves of Peter's coming, but thanks him for it.
Now therefore are we all here present before God . . . It is implied that they believed that God saw them, and that they were assembled at His command, and that they were to listen to His instructions. Now therefore (Deut.5:27), they all were ready for Peter to speak to them.
Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: (KJV)
Opened his mouth; an expression used in matters of great moment, as said of Jesus in Mat.5:2.
Of a truth . . . that is, Peter now knows that God is "no respecter of persons" (Lev.19:15; Deut.1:17; Rom.2:11; Eph.6:9; Col.3:25; 1 Pet.1:17; Jam.2:1-4). No respecter of persons means we should NOT show favor to a person because of rank, family, wealth, fame, power, or nationality . . . because God does NOT! The Jews thought that they were favored by God, and that salvation was not extended to other nations, and that being a Jew entitled them to this favor. Peter says here that he has learned that was wrong. Peter says that a man is not to be accepted because he is a Jew, NOR is he to excluded because he is a Gentile. The wall is broken down, the offer of salvation is made to ALL people. God saves ALL people by the same basic principle . . . NOT by external privileges, rank, wealth, but according to what is in the person's heart. The same doctrine is elsewhere explicitly stated in the New Testament (Rom.2:11; Eph.6:9; Col.3:25). God is sovereign and will always do right. God will not save a man because he is a Jew; nor because he is rich, or educated, or of elevated rank; not by any external privileges. Nor will God exclude any man because he is destitute of any of these privileges. The barrier, between the Jews and Gentiles was broken down.
"In every nation" . . . among all people; Jews or Gentiles, acceptance with God does NOT depend on the fact of being descended from Abraham, or of possessing external privileges, but on the state of the heart. We ALL are children of Abraham, by faith. Gal.3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (KJV)
Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (KJV)
In every nation . . . even though Romans or Italians, of which nation Cornelius was, and might probably be worse thought of by the Jews, because they supposed themselves to have been hardly used by them.
He that feareth him . . . fear of God is reverencing Him, giving Him His rightful place in our heart (Acts 9:31).
And worketh righteousness . . . this means doing what is right and just, to our conduct towards man. The result of all the requirements of Godliness, and justice to men . . . Cornelius had these, and he showed that although a Gentile, he not only talked the talk, he walked the walk of true piety.
Feareth him, and worketh righteousness . . . fearing God is understanding piety, meaning, the true worship of the true God; and working righteousness, means "do unto others as you would have them do to you" (Mat.7:12). Both these describe a truly good and holy man, such as Cornelius was.
Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) (KJV)
The word . . . is the doctrine, the Gospel. It proclaims peace through Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of ALL! Peter assumes that Cornelius had some knowledge of the main events of the life of the Saviour, although it was obscure and imperfect. What he tells them states this more fully and clearly.
Unto the children of Israel . . . the Messiah was promised to them, and spent His life among them, yet the Jews rejected Him.
Peace . . . . meaning peace or unity which was made between Jews and Gentiles, BUT, also means peace or reconciliation with God. Peter tells Cornelius and the many with him, HOW to be reconciled to God, that they might find peace.
He is Lord of all . . . Christ Jesus is Sovereign, the Ruler, of both Jews and Gentiles. He is their Master! Peter saw the necessity of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles as well as Jews (John 17:2; Mat.28:18-20; Eph.1:20-22). The Lord Jesus, is Mediator and had been appointed Lord over ALL nations (Gal.3:19-20; 1 Tim.2:5; Heb.8:6; 9:15; 12:24). "Lord of all" (Ps.24:7-10, Mat.28:18-20; Rom.14:9; 1 Cor.15:27; Eph.1:20-22; 1 Pet.3:22; Rev.17:14).
Acts 10:37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; (KJV)
It seems Peter preached the basic facts about Jesus of Nazareth and also about the ministry of John the Baptist. He told how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.
Throughout all Judea . . . the miracles of Christ were not confined to any one place, but were done in every part of the land.
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (KJV)
How God anointed . . . meaning that He set Jesus apart to this work, and was with him, acknowledging Him as the Messiah. Anointed Jesus (Luke 4:18; Heb.1:9).
With the Holy Ghost . . . The act of anointing the kings and priests seems to have been symbolic of the work of the Holy Ghost. Here it means, that God communicated to Jesus the influences of the Holy Spirit, thus setting him apart for the work of the Messiah (Mat.3:16-17; John 3:34)."God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."
And with power . . . the power of healing the sick, raising the dead, etc.
Who went about doing good. . . whose main task it was to travel from place to place to do good. He did not go for glory, or wealth, or comfort, but to spread happiness as far as possible. This is the simple but inspiring record of the Saviour's life. This, in bur a few, yet most affecting words, tells all about the Saviour. It gives a picture of His character, as He is separated from conquerors, kings, false prophets and the mass of men.
And healing . . . restoring to health. All that were oppressed of the devil . . . all that were possessed by him (Mat.4:23-24). God was with him. . . God appointed Him, and revealed by His miracles, the highest evidence that HE had sent Him. His miracles were such that they could be brought about only by God.
Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: (KJV)
We are witnesses . . . the apostles, whom Christ had chosen to go with Him, and to be eye and ear witnesses of all that was done by Him, or against Him (Luke 24:48). In the land of the Jews . . . In the country of Judea.
Whom they slew . . . their killing of our Saviour is here spoken of, to show how rightfully the Jews were now to be forsaken, and that they had no cause to complain because of the calling in of the Gentiles, for they had rejected Christ. We all must consider just how much it cost our blessed Saviour to deliver us from sin and Hell. He was made a curse for us (Gal.3:13; Deut.21:23) that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us (Gal.3:14).
Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; (KJV)
Him God raised up the third day . . . He was long enough under the power of death to prove that He was dead; and not too long, lest it should see corruption (Ps.16:10; Acts 2:27,31), or that His disciples had time enough to have practiced some deceit or pretense . . . and, to prevent this, the Jews took great care to have the tomb well guarded during the whole time which He lay there (Mat.27:64-66).
Peter does not want these Gentiles be discouraged from believing in Christ, and take offence at His cross. Peter preached to them the resurrection. Christ was seen and heard and felt many times AFTER His resurrection, He lives! (Mat.28:9,18; Mark 16:8-9,12; Luke 24:15,36,50; John 20:14,19,26; 21:1,4; Acts 1:3; 1 Cor.15:5-8).
Peter presents the FACTS concerning Christ Jesus, assuming that they already knew some things. He makes it very clear to them that this Jesus was crucified on a tree (Deut.21:23; Acts 5:30; 10:39; Gal.3:13) and that He rose again on the third day (Mat.20:19; 26:32; 27:63; Luke 18:33; 24:7; 1 Cor.15:4; 2 Cor.5:15; 1 Thes.4:14). God raised Him and showed Him openly. This is the Gospel. Nothing short of that will do.
There is not one single sermon preached, in the Book of Acts, that does not mention the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is the very heart of the Gospel. IF that is not preached, then the Gospel has NOT been preached. Christ Jesus died, He was buried, He rose again from the dead. Those are the historical facts. Your relationship to a risen Saviour determines your eternal destiny. He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was raised again for our justification (Rom. 3:24; 4:25; 5:1).
Acts 10:41 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. (KJV)
Not to all the people . . . Christ after His resurrection did NOT appear to the wicked Jews, for being to suffer no more, His enemies were not allowed or permitted to see Him! Thus our Saviour and Lord did NOT manifest Himself to the world.
But unto witnesses . . . the main witnesses were the apostles, who were chosen by Jesus (God) Himself. The other witnesses were also chosen by God.
Eat and drink with him . . . though in the Biblical history we do not read that our Saviour drank after He rose again; yet it really is implied, because He did eat, and make a meal with His disciples (Luke 24:30, 42-43; John 21:12).
Acts 10:42 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. (KJV)
Our Saviour gave this command to His apostles before His ascension to Heaven (Mat.28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48), and foretold that they should execute this command (Acts 1:8).
Ordained of God to be the Judge . . . Almighty God the Father has ordained to judge the world by Christ Jesus. Scripture abundantly testifies to this FACT (John 5:22, 26-27; 2 Tim.4:1; 1 Pet.4:5). And this FACT is told by the apostle, and was commanded by our Saviour to be preached by them all, because the resurrection of Christ, and the glory of His kingdom in this world, is clouded by the blindness and hardness of men. Because it is of the greatest concern to all, that at any time people hear the Word of God, that they be persuaded of this, that Christ, whose Gospel and Word they hear, shall judge them according unto it (Rom.2:16).
Quick . . . those who are alive at the Coming of our Lord at the Rapture (1 Thes.4:15). The dead . . . ALL people shall be resurrected to stand before Judge Jesus one day (Dan.12:1-2; Mat.25:46; Rev.20:11-15).
Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (KJV)
Peter had many weaknesses and faults, just like ALL people! This to me, is very encouraging! I rejoice in the fact that Peter was SO human and SO like me. What we must remember is that Peter preached the Gospel, the TRUE Gospel, NOT some watered down or twisted, deceitful "another gospel" (Gal.1:6-7; 2 Cor.11:4), that so many well know and well loved "evangelical" preachers today spout to their naive flocks. They preach "another Jesus" (2 Cor.11:4). They preach "damnable heresies" (2 Pet.2:1), hated by Almighty God! The TRUE Gospel: Jesus Christ died, He has risen, and whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins. (Mat.26:28: Mk.1:4; Lu.1:77; 3:3; 24:47; Heb.9:22). If we do not tell people that message, we are not telling them the Gospel, the Truth that can get them to Heaven.
Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (KJV)
While Peter yet spake these words . . . that God might miraculously show His approval of what Peter had said, and to assure Peter of the real conversion of these Gentiles, which all the Jews did make such a difficulty to believe. The Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word; with fiery tongues in a visible shape as had appeared unto the apostles (Acts 2:3). The inward powerful effects of the Spirit upon their hearts was indicated. What wonderful efforts this short sermon of Peter had that day! If only people were as sincere, and hearers as intent, these days as they were then, what a difference it would make in the world.
Acts 10:45 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. (KJV)
They of the circumcision . . . this speaks of the Jews, those who were not only themselves circumcised, but born of circumcised parents (Gal.2:12). Some Jews had come along with Peter. Not all understood the many predictions of the calling of the Gentiles, thought that Christ was only promised unto the Jews; and were amazed to see now such an incident as this, convinced them to the contrary.
Poured out . . . this speaks the abundant measure in which the Holy Ghost was given unto them.
Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, (KJV)
With tongues . . . with a variety of languages, as in the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:6), for I am sure not everyone there spoke the same language.
Then answered Peter . . . Peter, knowing that these miraculous fiery tongues revealed that these men did partake of the same Spirit from whom the apostles had received, he continues.
Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (KJV)
This question, as in Acts 8:36, with the eunuch, deserves no answer, for no one there could forbid these new converts to be baptized. Peter as much as said: They that have the grace promised, have a right to the seal of the Promise. These Gentiles have had the inward part, and therefore the outward part could not be denied to them.
Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (KJV)
In the name of the Lord . . . that is, in the Name of our Saviour, in His power! In the Name of Christ Jesus; which meant their taking upon them the public profession of Christianity, and believing on Christ Jesus as their Saviour and Master; for, as they were baptized in His Name, they professed to be His disciples and followers. This is how it should be . . . but it is not always so. Many are baptized but soon forget this fact of being Jesus' disciples.
Then prayed they him to tarry certain days . . . they wanted more instruction, and asked Peter to stay a little longer among them, and it seems that he consented. Up until now, the early church was all Jews. Now it has graduated to the Christian Church, now composed of Jews and Gentiles, partaking of the same baptism, united under the same Head, made partakers of the same Spirit, and associated in the same combined body. Now the middle wall of partition was broken down, and the Gentiles had the same privileges with the Jews.
The incident in Acts 10:44-48 has been called the Gentile Pentecost.
This outpouring of the Holy Spirit was heard by their speaking in tongues. Again, I know in my heart that these "tongues" were NOT the demonic gibberish of so many of today's churches. There were "many" in that room (Acts 10:27). So in my humble opinion, there was more than one language spoken, and it is my humble opinion that those there praised, glorified and magnified God in their own "tongue" (language), just like what happened on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:7-11). LANGUAGES . . . NOT ridiculous gibberish!
Peter later relates that these Gentiles had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and that God had granted repentance unto life also to the Gentiles (Acts 11:17-18). In Acts 15:7-11 Peter again refers to this incident, declaring that the Holy Ghost had been given to the Gentiles and that they are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ just as are the Jews. It is hard for us to realize the great barrier that existed between Jew and Gentile. The Jews of that day simply could not believe that Gentiles were going to be saved . . . even though the Lord Jesus had told them this was to be so.
The Gentiles at Cornelius' house are baptized in water. To me, water baptism is important, but it does NOT save you! Water baptism is NOT required for salvation! The thief on the cross was NOT baptized (Luke 23:43). I think everyone who is received into God's family as His child (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8), should be baptized to show publicly that they take a stand for Jesus. There are some who are not able, the sick or handicapped, but if you are able, get baptized! You do NOT want Jesus to be ashamed of you (Luke 9:26). Stand up for Jesus!
Consider the following about the conversions in the Book of Acts: #1. The Ethiopian eunuch was a son of Ham (a black man). #2. Saul of Tarsus was a son of Shem (a Jew). #3. Cornelius was a son of Japheth ( a white Gentile). All sons of Noah (Gen.6:10). In each conversion, the Holy Spirit was working, using a man of God and the Word of God.
Book of Acts
Ch.1 . . Ch.2 . . Ch.3 . . Ch.4 . . Ch.5 . . Ch.6 . . Ch.7 . . Ch.8 . . Ch.9 . . Ch.10 . . Ch.11 . . Ch.12 . . Ch.13 . . Ch.14 . . Ch.15 . . Ch.16 . . Ch.17 . . Ch.18 . . Ch.19 . . Ch.20 . . Ch.21 . . Ch.22 . . Ch.23 . . Ch.24 . . Ch.25 . . Ch.26 . . Ch.27 . . Ch.28