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Peter at Cornelius’ House July 20, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 10:23b-48.

Summary: In this passage, Peter arrived at Cornelius’ house in Caesarea; Cornelius greeted him and introduced him to his relatives and close friends. Peter asked Cornelius why he had sent for him, citing the well-known restriction on Jews associating with Gentiles. Cornelius responded by recounting the vision that he experienced three days ago. Peter then shared the Gospel message with his audience, and the Holy Spirit came on them in power. They were subsequently baptized with water.

Thoughts: In verse 34, Peter finally divined the meaning of his dramatic vision in the preceding passage. Calvin offers some insights on this point:

Then Peter began to speak. This phrase introduces an important speech (compare Matthew 5:2). It could be translated, “He began to speak, having first thought carefully about what he was going to say.”

The account that Cornelius provided before this verse enabled Peter – after much deliberation – to overcome his biases and accept this revelation:

God had called him to preach the Gospel message to this group of Gentiles – despite the prevailing animosity between Jews and Gentiles.

Peter had accepted his prior call to preach the Gospel message to Jews with alacrity. In contrast, God had to confront him with the futility of his prejudices in order for this group of Gentiles to receive His free gift of salvation. Perhaps we, as modern-day believers, should consider if we have any biases that hamper our obedience to the Great Commission.

I certainly hope to meet Cornelius’ relatives and close friends in the next life and delve into their emotions during this chapter. When Cornelius called them to hear a message from Peter, did they respond with enthusiasm? Did they have a growing sense of anticipation during the dialogue between Peter and Cornelius? If they were “devout and God-fearing”, how did they reconcile this fact with Peter’s declaration in verse 43 that their sins could be forgiven through Jesus Christ? Did they ever speak in tongues after this dramatic passage? How did they spend their time with Peter after this momentous occasion?

This passage marks a watershed in the early church, as we see a large group of Gentiles accept the Gospel message. Since I am a Gentile (as far as I know), this passage spurred me to ponder the concept of a “spiritual family tree.” In particular, any believer can probably name at least one other believer who brought them to Christ. This fact can be used to construct a “spiritual family tree,” and the believers in this book should appear near the top of this structure. Hopefully we, as modern-day believers, are playing our part in terms of growing this structure and bringing glory to God in the process.

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