Acts 10:1-23 (4/1/13)
The first giant in the early Church was Peter. Peter’s preaching on Pentecost brought about 3000 Jewish converts into the church (Acts 2). Peter and John performed the first miracle in the Church (Acts 3). Peter was held in such high esteem by the people that they carried out any who were sick and laid them on cots at the side of the streets so that Peter’s shadow would fall on them! (Acts 5).
Today and tomorrow we’ll read about one of Peter’s greatest accomplishments: bringing Gentiles into the Church. Peter’s action is so important that the story is told again in Acts 11, and it is referred to in Acts 15. Before this time, all the Christians were Jews. The vision that God sent to Peter was the essential first step in bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles.
Acts 10:24-48 (4/2/13)
One point of special note in today’s reading is that the Holy Spirit came upon Cornelius and his family before
they were baptized. After seeing the vision we read about yesterday and seeing that the Holy Spirit accepted these Gentiles, Peter felt compelled and justified in baptizing them into the Church. It is likely that no one other than Peter would have had the standing to do this – if you read on into Chapter 11, you’ll see that even he was questioned sharply about his actions.
1 Peter 2:4-17 (4/3/13)
We often fail to notice how many times the writers of the New Testament quote from the Old Testament – which was their only scripture! Peter wrote two letters to the Church at large, and he frequently cites the scripture as the basis for his instructions to them. I have added scripture references in brackets for you, although more than one reference would be applicable for much of what he says.
2:4. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men... [Psalms 118:22]
1 Peter 2:18-25 (4/4/13)
2:6 For it stands in Scripture: "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." [Isaiah 28:16]
7-8 ... "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," [Psalms 118:22 again] and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." [Isaiah 8:14] ...
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, [Exodus 19:6] a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [Isaiah 42:16]
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. [Hosea 2:23]
When a person is baptized in the United Methodist Church, the congregation vows that “with God’s help we will order our lives after the example of Christ.” One way I fail to do this is that I react badly when I am mistreated. Peter says that I should put up with mistreatment just as Christ did, because I am called to follow the example of Christ. Maybe I should try just a little harder this week to be kind and gracious – or at least quiet – when I am mistreated in some small way.
Acts 15:1-22 (4/5/13)
When Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, some folks arrived from Judea to criticize their work among the Gentiles. This caused something of a crisis in the infant Church. On one side were people like Peter, Barnabas, and Paul, who recognized that the gospel was as true for the Gentiles as it was for the Jews. On the other side were the people (unnamed) who maintained that the gospel was only for Jews, and therefore Gentiles interested in the gospel must become Jews. Then came the big meeting we read about (in part) today. This meeting is now known as the Council of Jerusalem, and it took place around the year 50.
Now, the interesting point that I want you to notice in today’s reading is how differently Peter is regarded than Paul and Barnabas. What Barnabas and Paul mostly got was a lot of debate. Then Peter
stood up to speak about the problem, reminding everyone not only that he was the first one to take the gospel to Gentiles, but also that we are all saved by grace. Suddenly the participants were willing to give Paul and Barnabas a respectful hearing.
More of The Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time
Copyright 2013 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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