Cornelius and Peter Have Visions

Acts 10:1-23

Cornelius was a Roman, a Gentile, and a man who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; but he was not a Jew. He was a good man, who did many charitable works for the needy, and who prayed to God regularly. One day, he had a vision in which an angel of God told him to send for Peter and to have him come to Cornelius for a visit; Cornelius did as he was told (10:1-8).

The next day Peter, who was still in Joppa, had a vision also, but his vision was a little like a divinely sent video and a screen opened on which a large variety of unclean animals were displayed along with the message “Take, kill and eat”. Naturally Peter objected, for as a good Jewish man, he would never even think about eating something forbidden by the old Law. But Peter was clearly told not to “call anything impure that God has made clean”; this was repeated three times.

A whole new age had dawned.

This was not merely a lesson on dietary laws and the culinary arts, for Peter was about to be approached by something else that was impure and unclean: Gentiles, specifically, the messengers sent to him by Cornelius. The vision ended with Peter being told to go downstairs to greet them. Apparently Peter had taken this message to heart, for he invited them into the house to dine, something no good Jew was permitted to do.

What was really going on?

Just as the Gospel was not just for the city of Jerusalem, it was also not just for Jews, because Jesus did not die for Jews only; He died for all humanity’s redemption. Everything about Israel and Judaism had been but a picture of the reality which came through Jesus Christ, because through Him, God had not redeemed just one Nation, but all Nations, peoples, tribes and tongues. Of course, it would take a little time for everyone to get used to this radical idea… I’m not quite certain that everyone has quite accepted it even now, but of course, that is a topic for another time.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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7 Responses to Cornelius and Peter Have Visions

  1. pipermac5 says:

    Even though Jesus ministered primarily to Jews, I have been amazed in my studies to discover how many times He ministered to Gentiles also, and how many times He foretold the spread of the kingdom of God to the Gentiles. Why did God have to give Peter a vision before he went to Cornelius? He had seen everything Jesus had done and heard every discourse. Had those lessons not sunken in yet? Was Peter that short-sighted? Was he that stubborn?



    • Don Merritt says:

      Good questions Steve! There are commentators who suggest that Peter was a little slow, and some who would say he was a bit stubborn or short-sighted, but I think that is really unfair to Peter as well as to the others who hadn’t quite comprehended this. I think, and you are all free to disagree of course, that the idea of God saving Gentiles was just too radical for the Jewish psyche of their day; it ran against everything they had been taught from the time they were toddlers. It went against the Law of Moses, it went against their traditions, and perhaps most importantly of all, it ran counter to the tremendous resentment they had for their Roman occupiers. In short, God bringing salvation and equality for Gentiles, was simply unthinkable, not just to Peter, but to all of them at the time, and it’s a little shocking to many today as well.

  2. Tabby says:

    Thank you God for not seeing me unclean but clean thru your son Jesus

  3. Pete Hendriksson says:

    I have so many reborn Christian friends today, some Messianic, others Gentile, who believe that only blacks / whites / Jews / non-Jews etc., can ever hope to see heaven. There is a strong believe, contrary to Jesus’ direct teaching on this, that ONLY the direct lineage of Abraham will ever be saved. Some are about two millennia slower than Peter!

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