Acts 10

In Jesus Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth anything, for by His finished work, the door of the gospel has been opened to “whosoever believeth.” Whatever nation one may be of, though far remote from the seed of Abraham, though ever so despicable, that will be no prejudice to him, if he will receive God’s appointed sacrifice for the remission of sins.

1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;

8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

9 ¶ On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:

10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,

18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.

19 ¶ While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?

22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.

33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

34 ¶ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

44 ¶ While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Acts 10:1-16 – ​Guidance for Men Who Pray

   At this point the Church took a new departure, and the gospel broke over the walls of Jewish exclusiveness and was preached for the first time to pure-blooded Gentiles. Caesarea, built by the great Herod, was practically a Roman city, and the official seat of the Roman government in Judea. Cornelius was an officer of high rank, and it would seem naturally of noble character. He had no sympathy with the religious fables and sensuous indulgence of his time, and was attracted to the Jewish faith, which stood alone in the world for pure and undefiled conceptions of God. He adopted some of its characteristic features—its hours of prayer, its practice of fasting, and its almsgiving.
   He had apparently set apart the whole of this memorable day for earnest inquiry as to the way of salvation, and as the sun was declining an angel brought the necessary indication of the steps that he should take. In the meanwhile God was about to prepare Peter to bring Cornelius into the perfect light. On the following day, as the messengers of Cornelius were nearing Joppa, the vision of a redeemed world from which Hebrew restrictions had vanished, opened to the Apostle a new and wider conception of God’s purpose. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 10:6—He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner.

​   This lodging must have been somewhat distasteful to the apostle; not only because of its insalubrious odors, but because of the association with death that rendered him liable to the ceremonial pollution which a religious Jew, as Peter was, peculiarly dreaded. Probably he was only driven to it by the sternest necessity. But was it not remarkable that he who had been the chief apostle of the Church, and who had but recently come from a most successful tour, should suddenly be isolated from all his happy and holy associations, and be stranded for many days in the tanner’s house (Acts 9:43)?
   Yet such dealings on the part of the Lord with his servant are easy of explanation. We are all apt to substitute work for God instead of communion with Him. We become strong in our own strength; elated with success; puffed up by the adulation of our friends. It is needful, therefore, that we be withdrawn from the madding crowd and the career of unbroken prosperity; that the glare of the sun should be tempered, and confidence in ourselves be brought low. There is only one resort. To be hidden in the quiver; to become dependent on the widow-woman of Zarephath; to spend forty years in the desert, till the passionate impulses of our own life subside; to go apart into Arabia; to spend the slowly-moving weeks in the tanner’s house.
   Peter waited, he maintained his habits of prayer; left his heart open to the impressions and teachings of the Holy Spirit; awaited the next movements of the cloudy pillar; set himself to acquire lessons which, though subversive of his past experience, reacted on his whole after-life; and from his retirement went forth to unlock a new era. —Our Daily Homily

Acts 10:17-33 – ​Jew and Gentile Meet

   It should be carefully noted that the mental impression which was produced by Peter’s vision was corroborated by the fact of the knocking and inquiring group at Peter’s door. This is God’s invariable method. For us all, as we contemplate taking a new and important step in life, there are the urging of the Spirit, the impression or vision of duty, and the knock or appeal of outward circumstances.
   Evidently Cornelius had gathered to his quarters in the barracks his kinsmen and a number of intimate friends, who were as eager as he to discover the will of God. They remained quietly waiting until the party from Joppa had completed their thirty-mile journey. Peter had taken the precaution of bringing with him six brethren, evidently with the expectation that the events of that day would not only create a new era, but would also be called into serious question.
   The welcome that Cornelius gave was very significant. That a high-born Roman should prostrate himself before a Jewish evangelist was unprecedented, though it revealed the true reverence and humility of Cornelius’s soul; but the noble simplicity of Peter’s reply was also a revelation of the true greatness of the Apostle, and ought to have more obviously influenced his would-be successors. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Acts 10:34-48 – ​Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit

   The address with which Peter answered the centurion’s inquiry was largely a recapitulation of the great facts of gospel history. The ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit was probably already familiar to his hearers. The story of the crucifixion was equally well-known. These things were not done in a corner. But the third division of the address, Acts 10:39-41, in which the Apostle told of the Resurrection and of our Lord’s appearance to chosen witnesses, of whom he was one, was probably replete with new and startling tidings. Notice the implied invitation of Acts 10:43 to them all to believe in Jesus, for the remission of sin.
   The Holy Spirit fell upon the audience, as on the day of Pentecost, Acts 10:44. There must have been that wonderful stirring and moving among the people which we have beheld, in a modified form, in modern audiences, when moved by the celestial wind, as a harvest field by the breeze. Peter never finished his sermon. It seemed as if the Holy Spirit put the Apostle aside, saying, “Thou hast spoken enough; leave the rest to me!” —Through the Bible Day by Day