Acts 10:9-16 CHAPTER TEN, PART TWO, Peter’s vision

…”Let’s now continue our biblical studies of the book of “ACTS OF THE APOSTLES…CHAPTER TEN…PART TWO…”Peter’s vision”…Acts 10:9-16…

“The scene in Luke’s drama switches to Peter, who is praying on the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house. The roof is a convenient place to get away from activity in the house. The time is around noon, the sixth hour, by the ancient method of reckoning. Noon …is also one of the three appointed times for Jewish public prayer..Daniel 6:10..and Psalm 55:17…

…”During the time of prayer, Peter becomes hungry and asks someone in the house for something to eat. While the meal is being prepared, he falls into a trance…Acts 10:11-12…Peter sees a large sheet held up by its four corners being let down to the ground. Inside the sheet he sees various four-footed animals, reptiles and birds. The three categories of living things Peter sees correspond roughly with the three divisions given in Genesis 6:20: animals, creatures that move along the ground and birds…..

“A voice tells Peter to get up and eat. But Peter replies, “Surely not, Lord!…I have never eaten anything impure or unclean”..Acts 10:14.. Peter’s strong negative “Surely not, Lord!” recalls the prophet Ezekiel’s horror when he is told by the Lord to use human excrement as fuel for baking bread. He said: “Not so, Sovereign Lord!….No unclean meat has ever entered my mouth”…Ezekiel 4:14…

…”We saw earlier that Peter is not overly scrupulous in observing certain Jewish regulations. He stays at the house of a leather worker, who would come in contact with dead animals. Perhaps he even works with unclean animals..Acts 9:43.. But Peter does apparently follow the Jewish dietary laws based on the Torah. He knows from Leviticus 11:47 that a Jew needs “to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.”

“However”, the “sheet” contains “all kinds” of living things. Luke’s account implies it includes animals traditionally acceptable to eat as well as those forbidden by old covenant law. Perhaps Peter sees the living things he recognized as unclean touching the edible ones, thus tainting them. “While clean animals were represented in the sheet, Peter was scandalized by the unholy mixture of clean and unclean and by the fact that no distinctions were made in the command to ‘kill and eat’”…

…”The Jews’ adherence to the dietary laws profoundly affect their relations with Gentiles. Food laws have the effect of keeping the people separated from each other. A Jew visiting a Gentile can’t be sure he will be served a “clean” food, or that the food is prepared according to the requirements of the law, or whether it has been tainted by an idol…

“To eat with Gentiles is to risk defilement, and this is a strong inducement for Jews not to fellowship with them. Since food is at the center of social life, it is the thing that perhaps more than anything else creates a barrier between Jews and Gentiles. And as an ideal, Jews have no dealings with Gentiles. Food regulations are a point of heated debate in the church..Romans 14:1-8, 17; Corinthians 8:1-13; Galatians 2:11-14…

…”It’s not surprising, then, that Peter is confused by the next statement of the voice in his vision. When he refuses to eat, a voice says: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”..Acts 11:15.. This happens three times, perhaps with the sheet being lowered each time, accompanied by a command to eat and not to call anything unclean that God had cleansed…

…”Pondering the vision”…Acts 10:17-23…
“Peter is “puzzled” about the meaning of the vision, with its strange mixture of living things, and the odd commands from the voice…Acts 10:17… While Peter is mulling over what he has seen, the emissaries from Cornelius arrive at Simon’s home. They stop at the gate, shouting to the occupants, asking whether Peter is staying there.Acts 9:17…This little scene with Gentiles calling out from beyond the gate reflects exactly the situation the vision is meant to correct…

“Devout non-Jews such as those who came from Cornelius probably understand that Jews do not want any close association with Gentiles. Thus, it would be rude for them to come to the door of a Jew’s home, with the desire of being allowed inside. But at the exact moment of the exchange at the gate, the Holy-Spirit says to Peter: “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them”..Acts 10:20.. The fact of the Spirit having to encourage Peter not to be hesitant reveals his reluctance to associate with Gentiles…

…”By now, however, Peter begins to suspect that God is making some purpose known to him, so he invites the men into the house as his guests..Acts 10:23..No doubt, this occurs with the tanner’s permission, since Peter himself is a guest.The men explain they are here at the request of Cornelius, emphasizing that he is “a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people”..Acts 10:22.. More than this, they say that Cornelius has not decided on his own to contact Peter, but an angel from God told him to do so…

…”Contingent goes to Caesarea”…Acts 10:23…
“Peter must now be doubly impressed that something of importance… something inspired by the Holy-Spirit…is happening with the Gentile Cornelius. He wholeheartedly agrees to go with the men. The next day Peter starts out for Caesarea, 30 miles away. He takes some of the disciples living in Joppa with him. We learn later that the contingent consists of six people…Acts 11:12…

…”They are identified as “circumcised believers,” which is to say they are Jewish Christians who follow the traditions of the Torah..Acts 10:45.. In retrospect, this proves a wise move, as Peter will later be severely criticized by the Jerusalem church for meeting with Cornelius…Acts 11:3…The six will be important witnesses to the operation of the Holy-Spirit in this momentous event”…

…”Peter meets Cornelius”…Acts 10:24-26…
“Meanwhile, Cornelius has called together his relatives and close friends..Acts 10:24.. Earlier, Luke described his household as “devout and God-fearing”..Acts 10:2.. Later, all of Cornelius’ family will share in the outpouring of the Holy-Spirit and be baptized Acts 10:44, 48…

“Peter arrives at the residence of Cornelius, and goes in..Acts 10:25.. A momentous milestone lies hidden here. Peter, in contradiction to all that Judaism stands for, enters the house of a Gentile. The church will never be the same again. Cornelius meets Peter and falls at his feet in reverence..Acts 10:25.. It’s understandable why he reacts this way. Having an angel specifically tell him to send for Peter could make him think there is something “holy” or supernatural about the apostle…hummmm…

“Also, perhaps something of Cornelius’ former superstitious background is manifesting itself, in which humans are sometimes thought to be gods. Paul and Barnabas are similarly thought of and worshipped by the pagan Gentiles of Lystra…Acts 14:15… Peter, of course, will have none of this, and makes Cornelius stand up. Then he sets the record straight about who he is. Luke’s simple phrase from Peter’s words says it all: “I am only a man myself”…Acts 10:26…

…”Call no one impure”…10:27-33…
Peter goes inside the house and begins to explain to the group why he, a Jew, is here in the home of a Gentile. He admits that it is against Jewish law for Jews to associate with or even visit Gentiles..Acts 10:28..The “no contact rule” was probably the hoped-for Jewish position. There are provisions in Jewish law that allow business partnerships with Gentiles. But any such contacts, of either a business or social nature, make a Jew ceremonially unclean !!!…

“Various Jewish religious groups debate the degree of separation a Jew needs to maintain “vis á vis” Gentiles in order to remain loyal to the regulations of the Torah. Some groups, such as the Essenes, seem to maintain an almost complete separation. The Pharisees are more moderate in such matters, and the common folk the least observant. Peter is probably on the more liberal end of the spectrum regarding the wall of separation. Fishermen are used to handling dead animals and unclean animals. Yet, he is having great difficulty understanding the new direction the church is to be taking…even with the leading of the Holy-Spirit…

…”Though Peter was not by training or inclination an “overly scrupulous” Jew, and though as a Christian his inherited prejudices were gradually wearing thin, he was not prepared to go so far as to minister directly to Gentiles. A special revelation was necessary for that, and Luke now tells how God took the initiative in overcoming Peter’s reluctance…

“By now Peter is “clear” about what God is trying to teach him. He tells the people assembled in Cornelius’ home: “God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean”…Acts 10:28…

…”After Peter explains to his audience why he is in the house of a Gentile, he says to Cornelius: “May I ask why you sent for me?”…Acts 10:29…Cornelius then describes the details of the vision he received. He explains that an angel…”a man in shining clothes”…told him he was chosen to receive God’s grace…Acts 10:31…Cornelius describes how he was commanded by the angel to send for Peter…

Peter's vision

Peter’s vision

“Cornelius appreciates Peter having come to see him, a Gentile. The whole group is now ready to hear him. Cornelius says, “We are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us”..Acts 10:33..In the second retelling of the Cornelius event, Luke makes it clear that Cornelius already knows why Peter is coming to see him. The angel told Cornelius that Peter “will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved”…Acts 11:14… Cornelius is expecting the gospel of salvation….

…”And as usual we will continue this bible study tomorrow. Until then..Thank-You for your dedications toward studying the scriptures with me…May God gives You more understandings and knowledges for your spiritual growth in our Lord and Saviour Jesus-Christ…our elderly brother…our future King !!!…

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