Read Acts 9:1-26
A zealous man seeks to destroy the followers of Jesus (Acts 9:1-2). Never underestimate the Lord's power to change even the vilest heart (9:3-18). The Church strengthened (9:19-31). Miraculous healings; many believe (9:32-42). According to His Word Christ died also for the Gentiles (chap. 10).
Peter's vision on the housetop was a very important step in opening the door of the Gospel to the Gentiles. The Jewish Christians had not understood that the Gospel was to be extended to all Gentiles. Although they had become Christians, culturally they were still Jews, and old prejudices had to be removed.
Peter saw the vision while he was engaged in prayer on the housetop of Simon, the tanner, at Joppa. Prayer is a great revealer. The more one prays the more hardness and hostility in the heart disappear. It is significant that his vision occurred while he prayed from the housetop of a tanner. The Jews considered the business of tanning skins an unclean trade since it involved handling dead bodies. For Peter, an orthodox Jew, to lodge with a tanner, an outcast, was a big step out of his prejudice. Next, we are not surprised to find the man who would lodge with a tanner being led by Gentiles to another Gentile's house thirty miles away. How striking are these "coincidences" of history!
There is as much divine design in the movements of men as there is in the creation of the earth. Cornelius prayed in Caesarea while Peter prayed in Joppa. How well-timed! Surely the world is governed by the intelligence of its Creator.
The sheet with its "unclean" contents suggests the love of God for all people. Peter had thought that God was a respecter of persons, with preference for the Jews (Acts 10:34). However, the Gospel of Christ teaches us to say, Our Father (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2; Rom. 1:7) so that we may be able to say, "My brother."
God, in a remarkable way, led Peter to the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurian soldier who had been fasting and praying. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, 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 10:34-35).
Overcoming his Jewish prejudice, the Apostle Peter understood the significance of his vision which was that God would have every Christian to be a witness to the lost without partiality, regardless of nationality, rank, wealth, or circumstance.
Since Christ died for all men without partiality, so salvation through Him is to be offered to all. As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name (John 1:12).
Thought for Today:
Peter declared of Jesus: To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).
For Acts 10:14: See Lev. 11:4; 20:25; Deut. 14:3,7. Acts 10:34 See Deut. 10:17. Acts 10:38: See Is. 61:1-3.
10:1 centurion, a captain of an Italian troop of 100 men; 10:3 ninth hour, 3 p.m., the usual hour of evening worship among the Jews.
Pray for Government Official: Sen. Jack Reed (RI) • Country: Equatorial Guinea (466,000) in western Africa • Major language: Spanish • Freedom for churches at this time • 71% Roman Catholic; 19% ancestral spirit worship and medicine men; 6% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray with a heart of righteousness, keeping the truth of God, and know He will hear your prayers (Is. 26:2).
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 6:12