Cornelius Sends for Peter
Verse 1 – There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
Verse 2 – a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
Cornelius was a Roman officer that had 100 soldiers under him. He had forsaken Roman idolatry and superstition and followed God, devoutly.
Verse 3 – about the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
Verse 4 – And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” so he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
Cornelius had been earnestly seeking God. He may have been asking for God to send him someone that could teach him about Christ. The angel let Cornelius know that his prayers had been heard. God hears every prayer of His child that is prayed.
Verse 5 – “Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.
Verse 6 – “He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”
Yes Cornelius worshiped God, but he needed to be taught in the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He couldn’t get that on his own. He needed to be ministered to by one who could instruct him fully in salvation.
Verse 7 – And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.
Verse 8 – So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
Peter Sees the Great Sheet
Verse 9 – The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.
Verse 10 – Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance.
While the men from Cornelius are on their way to call on Peter, Peter is on the housetop praying and falls into a trance. Sometimes we need to be isolated, with no distractions, in order to hear what God is trying to tell us. Make no mistake, if you ever fall into a trance, ordained by God, the message you receive is significant. It will not only benefit you, but others for the kingdom.
Verse 11 – And saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to earth.
Verse 12 – In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts; creeping things, and birds of the air.
Verse 13 – And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
Verse 14 – But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
According to Jewish law, certain foods were forbidden to be eaten (Leviticus 11). The food laws made it difficult for Jews to eat with Gentiles without risking defilement.
This vision was about much more than just food. This was a calling for Peter to accept the Gentiles. Peter would soon realize the Gospel was not meant for the Jews only, but every creature on earth. Christ died for all.
Verse 15 – And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
What God has pronounced clean, and lawful to be used, must have been a shock to Peter. Jesus, Himself, taught, “It’s not what a man takes in that defiles him, but what comes out of his mouth (Matthew 15:11).
Verse 16 – This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
Verse 17 – Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.
Verse 18 – And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was peter, was lodging there.
Verse 19 – While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you.
Verse 20 – “Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27).” So, if you are truly a child of God, you will hear the Holy Spirit speak to you, after all, ” The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord!”
Verse 21 – Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?”
Verse 22 – And they said, “Cornelius the centurion a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.”
Verse 23 – Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
Verse 24 – And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.
When God moves powerfully in a person’s life, the natural response is to call relatives and close friends together and share the experience with them, and this is what Cornelius did.
Verse 25 – As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.
Verse 26 – But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.”
Verse 27 – And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together.
Verse 28 – Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Verse 29 – “Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”
Peter still didn’t know why God wanted him at Cornelius’ house. We too can be sent to a certain place by God, and not find out the reason until we arrive. The key is always to be obedient to the voice of the Lord.
Verse 30 – And Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour (3 o;clock in the afternoon) I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
Verse 31 – “and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.
Verse 32 – Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’
Verse 33 – “So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”
Verse 34 – Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
Sometimes we think that it would be useless for us to share the gospel with another person who believes in another religion. Or, we think because of the person’s culture, they just won’t understand. God broke all these barriers down between the Jew ad Gentile when Christ died and rose again. The only thing that keeps a person distant from God is not believing in His Son, Jesus.
Verse 35 – “But in every nation whoever fears (worships and shows reverence) Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
Verse 36 – “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all –
Verse 37 – “that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
Verse 38 – “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Verse 39 – “And we are witnesses of all these things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.
Verse 40 – “Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,
Verse 41 – “not to all people, but to witnesses chosen before God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Verse 42 – “And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.
Verse 43 – “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Telling others about Christ doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. The focus is always on Christ and should be Spirit led to show the way and the truth and the life.
Gentiles Are Converted
Verse 44 – While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
Verse 45 – And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
Verse 46 – For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
Faith, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and believers baptism are again all components of conversion, although this time in a different order. The Jews that had come with Peter were astonished because they witnessed the falling of the Holy Spirit on Gentiles.
Verse 47 – “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
Now, Peter wanted to know after they had all witnessed the fall of the Holy Spirit, was there a reason why these people could not be water baptized?And let me draw your attention to this: Do you see evidence every time the Holy Spirit falls? Do you not see this is a baptism different from water? Why is it so hard for people to understand that it is necessary for a Christian to be baptized in the Holy spirit in order to live this life? It is clearly written in Scripture for all to see.
Verse 48 – And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Do you see the pattern here? There are three things that must be done. First believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The next two things do not have to be in any order. You can be baptized in water, but then you must be baptized by Jesus in the Holy Spirit. Or, while hearing the Word preached, you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, and then water baptized. If you don’t believe you need to be baptized with or in the Holy Spirit, then you will never have any power to live this Christian life!