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Bible Pathways - Nov. 12, 2008


November 12

Acts 9

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Saul meets the Savior and a transformation follows that touches both you and me (9:1-31)! Peter not only heals but raises the dead (9:32-43). Note the reason we all witness (9:42). Chapter 10 is a pivotal chapter of Scripture introducing salvation to the Gentiles. It was an unquestionable command from the Lord to the Church because He shed His blood for "all" mankind (10:34-35).

Peter's vision on the housetop was a very important final step in the extension of the Gospel to the Gentiles. The Jewish Christians had not understood that the Gospel was to be extended to all Gentiles. Although they now were 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, the 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 God's love for all people. Peter had thought that God was a respecter of persons, with preference for the Jews (10:34). However the Gospel of Christ teaches us to say: Our Father (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2; Romans 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 understood the significance of his revelation which was that God would have every Christian be a witness to the lost without partiality, disregarding nationality, rank, wealth, or circumstance.

Since Christ died for all men without distinction, 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).

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).

Thought for Today:

The next time we look down on a brother or sister that falls into sin, remember that every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more (Romans 14:12-13)

Word Studies:

10:1 centurion =b> a captain of an Italian troop of 100 men; 10:3 ninth hour =b> 3 p.m, the usual hour of evening worship among the Jews.

Cross References:

For Acts 10:14: See Leviticus 11:4; 20:25; Deuteronomy 14:3,7. Acts 10:34 See Deuteronomy 10:17. Acts 10:38: See Isaiah 61:1-3.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Letha Hash • Staff: Barbara Jean Loyd • Government Officials: Gov. Ernie Fletcher (KY), Secretary Norman Mineta (Department of Transportation), Sen. Jack Reed (RI), and Rep. Diane Watson (CA) • Country: Morocco (28.2 million) on the northwestern coast of Africa • Major languages: Arabic and French • Government very hostile to Christians and missions • 99.75% Muslim (mostly Sunni); .25% Christian (including foreigners); small numbers of Jews and Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Encourage others to praise the Lord throughout the day (Psa. 67:5).

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 4:5

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