TEXT: ACTS 10:34-48
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
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.
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:
40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
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.
43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
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.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
KEY TEXT: Acts 10:45 “…On the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost…”
It is difficult to describe the dramatic change—the total revolution—that occurred in Peter’s world from Joppa to Caesarea. In Joppa his diet was changed. All of his life Peter carefully avoided those meats that were forbidden to the Jews in the Torah. While praying God showed him a vision of “unclean meats” and declared, “What God has cleansed, do not call common!” (Acts 10:15). Three times the vision was repeated. Peter would never eat the same.
Peter was still lost in reverie when the servants of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, knocked at the door. They asked Peter to return with them to Caesarea. Gentiles were asking. All of his life Peter carefully avoided associating with Gentiles. They were unclean. Heaven spoke again. “Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” (Acts 10:20).
When Peter arrived in Caesarea he went directly to the home of the Centurion. Cornelius warmly greeted the Apostle and introduced him to his invited family and friends: “we [are] all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” (Acts 10:33)
Peter began, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:35) If his diet was changed in Joppa, his bias was changed in Caesarea. For an orthodox Jew this was not simply evolutionary, this was revolutionary.
Peter preached Christ!
Christ “Lord of all,” (Acts 10:36),
Christ “anointed with the Holy Ghost and power” (Acts 10:38),
Christ “healing all that were oppressed of the devil,” (Acts 10:38),
Christ “hanged on a tree,” (Acts 10:39),
Christ “raised up the third day,” (Acts 10:40),
Christ “the judge of the quick and the dead,” (Acts 10:41),
Christ the “fulfillment” of prophecy (Acts 10:43), and
Christ the Savior of “whosoever believeth in Him!” (Acts 10:43).
While Christ was exalted by the Apostle, the Holy Ghost fell upon all of them who heard the word. (Acts 10:44). It was the same Spirit that baptized the Jewish believers at Jerusalem.
Peter and the the Jewish believers with them were amazed as the Gentile believers spoke in tongues and magnified God. (Acts 10:46) Confirmed in the faith, Peter baptized them in the name of the Lord.
To the skeptical—dare we say critical--Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, Peter explained his vision and the conversion of the Gentiles. I love his summation: “What was I, that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11:17)
At Pentecost in Jerusalem his heart was changed. At Joppa his diet was changed. At Caesarea his bias was changed. And somewhere between Caesarea and Jerusalem His perspective changed. The work of God would not be done Peter’s way. This was God’s work. And God’s work is done God’s way by God’s Spirit.
PRAYER: Our Father in Heaven, We come into your presence, encouraged by the sense of Thy Spirit, blessed by the knowledge of your love expressed for us in Christ, and comforted by the great faithfulness of our infinite God. We pray that thy Spirit would direct our paths. Shatter those man-made or self-made preconceptions that hinder the free working of thy Spirit. We give to Thee our bodies, our souls, our substance, our fame, our friends, our liberty, and our lives. May we be wholly and holy Thine. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen. “Our Father, &c.”