Peter Defends His Ministry to the Gentiles
Verse 1 – Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
Verse 2 – And when Peter came up to Jerusalem those of the circumcision contended with him,
The Jews were fine with the Gentiles being converted, as long as after they were saved they were circumcised and followed all the Jewish laws and traditions. However, most resented the fact that they were being saved in the first place.
Verse 3 – saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
Verse 4 – But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying:
Verse 5 – “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descended like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me.
Verse 6 – “When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.
Verse 7 – “And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat.’
Verse 8 – “But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’
Verse 9 – “But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’
Verse 10 – “Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.
Verse 11 – “At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent from Caesarea.
Verse 12 – “Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.
Verse 13 – “And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter,
Verse 14 – ‘who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’
Verse 15 – “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.
Verse 16 – “Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
If you have not read the piece I wrote before chapter 2, go read it. It will explain that yes, there is not only a baptism with water, but a baptism in the Holy Spirit every believer needs. You would have to totally ignore Scripture to not believe this. The piece is titled, “Does the Holy Spirit Baptize? Scripture proves it over and over that you need this.
Verse 17 – “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ who was I that I could withstand God?”
Verse 18 – When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
They had to accept even the Gentiles whom God has chosen also. However, this joy over the Gentile conversion was not unanimous. This continued to be a struggle for some Jewish Christians throughout the first century.
Verse 19 – Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose after Stephen, traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.
After Stephen was stoned, the Christian Jews and other believers, were scattered for fear of the same thing happening to them. But when the Jewish Christians began to teach, they only taught fellow Jews.
Verse 20 – But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenist (Greeks and Gentiles).
Verse 21 – And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
It was in Antioch that Christianity was launched on its worldwide mission and where the believers aggressively preached to the Gentiles.
Verse 22 – Then the news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and then they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.
Antioch of Syria was an important part of the early church. The first Gentile church was founded in Antioch and this is where the believers were first called Christians.
Verse 23 – When he (Barnabas) came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
Verse 24 – For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
Verse 25 – Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.
Verse 26 – And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Verse 27 – And in these days prophets came fro Jerusalem to Antioch.
Verse 28 – Then one of them named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.
This is the gift of “prophecy” in the church. This gift has not ceased either, as some might think.
Verse 29 – Then the disciples each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.
Verse 30 – This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
There was a serious food shortage during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) because of a drought that had extended across much of the Roman empire for many years. The people of Antioch were motivated to give generously because they cared about the need for others. Reluctance in giving shows a lack of concern for others, which is not a characteristic of a believer. But each gave according to their ability.