Monday, March 15, 2010

Acts 11:1-18

Peter Explains His Actions

1The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3and said, "You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them."
4Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened: 5"I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7Then I heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'

8"I replied, 'Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
9"The voice spoke from heaven a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' 10This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11"Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house. 13He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.'

15"As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"

18When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."

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Peter appeared before the Jewish Christians and was questioned about his actions in the home of Cornelius. These Jewish men had doubts about God accepting Gentiles into the church. It is not surprising that other Jewish Christians were also skeptical.

So Peter describes the events exactly as it happened and described his vision to his critics (all of which we discussed in Chapter 10).

In v. 18 we see how the critics HEARD what Peter was saying, they were willing to listen to him. Communication is often the key to working out disagreements. It was mentioned that they quieted down, apparently the confrontation with Peter had been a noisy affair. But Peter's quiet response had quieted the crowd. Proverbs 15:1, a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The MOST satisfying part of the response is not that Peter's critics were silenced, but rather that they glorified God!

"God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life" This was a turning point for the early church. They had to accept those whom God had chosen, even if they were Gentiles. Not all Jewish Christians accepted this fact easily!

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