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Back drop of the time:
Gentiles were about to experience a new place in the church. This was the beginning of the Gentiles to have equality with the Jews without having to be circumcised. God was making a way for all to be saved and accepted by Him.
Background of Cornelius
Cornelius, Centurion, captain of 100 men in the Roman army; the Italian band was a regiment of about 555 infantry and 66 cavalry.
Centurions were tough-minded, iron-discipline, well-trained, brave-hearted. Roman centurions are mentioned in the NT 5 times; they’re shown in a favorable way () each time.
Religious Gentile, God-fearing, drawn to moral and ethical standards of Judaism, most likely attending synagogue meetings.
First family to hear the gospel since Pentecost (). It was not till this point that there was the thought a person could be saved unless circumcised and followed the laws of Moses.
10:3 - 4
Setting:Ninth hour of the day – traditional time set for prayer (3:00pm)
Vision: The angel of !
Cornelius responds in a voice as a child-like .
He gained God’s attention due to his prayers and giving/caring for the poor in a practical way.
God Hears! God sees your kindness! God takes notice!!
God could save Cornelius without Peter, but God needed Peter to see that He could reach the Gentiles to save them and would use Peter to usher in the unity among Jews and Gentiles.
God speaks to both Cornelius and Peter – God confirms His word with 2 or 3.
10:9 - 10
– on the flat roof, (patio) east where it was cool area of the day, 6th hour, noon.
In a place to pray. Planned to pray. Got distracted.
What distracts you?
What holds you captive?
God was creative to parallel the physical with the spiritual message of hunger!
God uses a vision to guide Cornelius to a man of God to share the gospel with him. Peter is the one who shares the gospel, not the angel. The angel leads him to receive a message from a man.
Recall that when David was classifying Goliath, he referred to him as an uncircumcised person – he referred to his . He referenced with boldness his strength and ability.
Peter was being positioned to have a change of heart by God who in turn taught other apostles the same message.
Sheet – used to gather the mix of all animals = cultures or Jews/Gentiles.
Curtain in the holy of holies – when Christ died, the veil was ripped from top to bottom.
When Jesus completed the work of the cross, he made a new covenant that would be for all people, not just the Jews. Even as the literal veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, indicating the way into the holiest had become accessed not for merely a high priest for Jesus became our high priest, making intercession for us and giving us direct access to God.
10:12 - 13
Mixed animals – clean and unclean (Lev 11:1-23; Deut 14:3-21); distinction of meats that was being established by God that He was bringing them all together, equal, no longer separated.
Animals represented Jews and Gentiles. Kosher and not. translation calls Gentiles “outsiders”. It was time to bring together to save. Peter was to speak to both.
It had been approximately 8 years since Jesus departed the earth. God was illustrating to Peter that the was broken down and the gospel was not to be withheld from Gentiles/outsiders.
“Wall of partition” Gk mesotoichon, partition wall. It means Christ broke down the wall or fence that separated Jews and Gentiles. A wall of stone about 6 ft high separated the court of the Gentiles from the that of the Jews in the temple. Crossing it meant death to any Gentile. Jews endeavored to live by themselves among the Gentiles. They either wanted a river or a wall between them and their Gentile neighbors. Their laws, rites and customs separated
them. The wall was known as the “soreg”, a partition prohibiting Gentiles from entering in to the temple courts. There were signs placed on the “soreg” (some have been discovered), with the inscription - “No outsider shall enter the protective enclosure around the sanctuary. And whoever is caught will only have himself to blame for the ensuing death”.
Temple in Jerusalem
Jesus’ work on the cross was to pay for the debt of sin for ALL people.
Flock will be united. One flock. One shepherd.
Paul says the Gentiles are grafted into the olive tree which is Israel, sharing the nourishing root of the olive tree.
Paul states no longer a division among Jews and Gentiles. We are one in Christ.
“Lord” – sign of submission, even though challenged to follow it because it was wrecking all he knew and did.
‘NO’ – Peter had a way of saying No! Matthew 16:22 (when Jesus was telling disciples of coming events where he would be killed – Peter: “No, Lord! Never!”); John 18:8-11 where Peter severs the ear off a servant when they were taking Jesus.