Peter Preaches to Cornelius Household

Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded letter to the president. … More

Favoritism

God makes it clear through Peter’s teaching that the Good News of Christ is for everyone (vv. 34-35). We should never allow culture, prejudice, geography, economic situations or educational levels keep us from telling others about Christ. In every nation there are people who are ready to receive the gospel, but someone must take it to them. Seeking God is not enough; people must put their trust in Him. This is the same message that God gave to the people of Israel, when he sent Jesus Christ, into this world to offer peace to them (v. 36).

Peter’s brief and powerful sermon contains a concise statement of the gospel (vv. 37-43). Jesus’ perfect life of servanthood, His death on the cross, and His resurrection, was personally witnessed and experienced by Peter. A sermon or witness for Christ does not need to be long to be effective. However it needs to center on Christ as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

Cornelius and Peter were very different. Cornelius was wealthy, a Gentile and a military man. Peter was a Jewish fisherman who became a preacher. But God’s plan included both of them. A new chapter in Christian history was written as a Jewish Christian leader and a Gentile Christian convert discovered something significant about God at work in the other person. Cornelius needed Peter to know the way to salvation and Peter needed Cornelius to know that Gentiles were included in God’s plan. While Peter was still speaking, some of the Gentiles began speaking in unknown languages and praising God, as the Holy Spirit took control of everyone who was listening (vv. 44-46). Some of the Jewish followers were surprised that the Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentiles, as they  heard them speaking in other languages and praising God. Peter goes on to say, “These Gentiles have been given the Holy Spirit, just as we have and I am certain that no one would dare stop us from baptizing them” (vv. 47-48). Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Application

Just as Peter obeyed the Lord and accepted the Gentiles as believers I need to reach out to people who are in different parts of society and different parts of the world.

Acts 10:34-48 (English Standard Version)

So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

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