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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Acts 10

 

 

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Introduction

The Conversion Of Cornelius
- Acts Ten -

It was God"s will that the gospel be preached to every creature. (Mark 16:15). At this point in history the gospel had been preached only to the Jews and Samaritans. The Samaritans had part Jewish blood. Cornelius and his household were the first Gentile converts. The Jews had been long separated from the Gentiles. It took a series of miracles from God to help break down this prejudice.

Cornelius, was the captain or centurion of a group of soldiers called "The Italian Band." He and the other soldiers in this unit were from Italy. He was a praying man that practiced charity to the poor. These deeds did not save him but they did cause God to take notice of him. God instructed him to send for Peter to learn what he needed to do to be saved.

In a vision the Lord told Peter to kill and eat unclean animals. Peter told the Lord he had never eaten anything unclean. Peter was told that what God had cleansed no one should call unclean. The vision was not really about food, but it was about people. While Peter thought about what the vision meant three men came from Cornelius. He went with these men without doubting. Some brethren accompanied him from Joppa.

When they arrived at Caesarea Cornelius was waiting. Cornelius, his family and friends were ready to hear what they must do to be saved. Cornelius fell down and worshipped at Peter"s feet. Peter said to him, "Stand up! I am just a man." Peter explained to Cornelius how he had learned that no man is common or unclean.

Peter now knew that any person that fears God and works righteousness is accepted with God. He is no respecter of persons. Peter preached the gospel to those that had gathered. He told them of the work of Jesus and of His death and resurrection. Peter showed that Jesus is the one that God has chosen to judge the living and the dead. As Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon those that heard the word. The Jewish brethren that had come with Peter were surprised that the Holy Spirit had been given to Gentiles. They heard the Gentiles speaking in unknown languages and praising God. Peter now saw clearly that the Gentiles should be baptized. So He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.


Verses 1-8

Cornelius, a good moral man - Acts 10:1-8 : In Acts chapter ten we meet a man named Cornelius, who was a captain of a group of soldiers called "The Italian Band." He lived in Caesarea. Cornelius was Roman by race and a soldier by profession. He was a devout man that feared God with his entire house. Even though Cornelius was very religious he was unsaved. (Acts 11:14)

At about the ninth hour of the day Cornelius saw an angel of God. The angel told him his prayers and alms have come up for a memorial before God. The angel instructed him to send for Peter. Peter was lodging with Simon the tanner in Joppa. Cornelius sent two of his servants and a devout soldier to Joppa to seek for Peter. The Lord brought Peter and Cornelius together so Cornelius could learn the truth.


Verses 9-18

Peter"s vision while on the housetop - Acts 10:9-18 : Peter was prejudiced against Gentile and his Jewish prejudice had to be broken. While on a housetop praying Peter saw a vision of something like a great sheet bound at the four corners coming down to the earth. In the sheet there were all kind of things unlawful for Jews to eat. A voice told peter to "Kill these and eat them."

Peter protested that he had never eaten anything common or unclean. Peter is told that when God says that something is clean man should not call it unclean. The vision happened three times before the sheet was suddenly taken back to heaven. The vision was to show Peter that God would receive Gentiles into the kingdom. The result of the vision was that Peter went with those sent by Cornelius.


Verses 19-33

Peter went to Cornelius - Acts 10:19-33 : As Peter thought about what the vision meant, the men from Cornelius arrived. The Holy Spirit instructed Peter to go with them, doubting nothing. The men told Peter that Cornelius was a good man that worshiped God and that he was loved by the Jewish people. Peter invited the men to stay the night and then he went with them.

Cornelius had an audience waiting to hear God"s message. He had invited his relatives and close friends to hear the preaching. Cornelius was concerned that all would hear the things commanded by God. When Peter arrived, Cornelius greeted him and knelt down at his feet to worship him. Peter took hold of him and said, "Stand up! I am nothing more than a human." No man is to be worshipped, not even those that might call themselves "Pope."

Peter explained to Cornelius that the Jews are not allowed to have anything to do with other people. But God has shown him not to call any man common or unclean. Peter said that he had agreed to come but he wanted Cornelius to tell him why he had sent for him. Cornelius recounted the vision that had occurred four days before. Now all of these people were present before God to hear everything He has commanded.


Verses 34-48

Peter"s sermon to the Gentiles - Acts 10:34-48 : Peter said that he was certain that God treats all people alike. Everyone that worships God and does His will, can be saved. Peter recognized that God respects no man because of his nationality. He also understood that the gospel is for all and the conditions of gospel obedience are the same for all.

Peter"s sermon involved the same message that he had preached from Pentecost. He said that, (1) God sent Jesus as Lord of all, (2) God offers peace through Jesus, (3) God gave miraculous power to Jesus, (4) Jesus died, was buried and was raised on the third, (5) the prophets witness to Jesus, and (6) Peter and others were commanded to testify that Jesus was ordained to be the Judge of the living and the dead.

As Peter began to speak the Holy Spirit came upon Cornelius and his house. Some Jewish brethren had come with Peter. They were surprised that the Holy Spirit had been given to Gentiles. They knew the Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost because "they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God." Peter questioned as to whether anyone could forbid water for the baptism of those that had received the Spirit just as the Jews did? Peter commanded baptism in water as a condition of salvation from past sins.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Acts 10:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/acts-10.html. 2014.

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