ACTS 10 - PETER AND CORNELIUS

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved


This chapter begins a transitional section where the emphasis changes from reaching Jews to reaching Gentiles. Here, Peter gains new insights on racial distinctions and legalism.

The Vision of Cornelius

A. He was a resident of Caesarea - Acts 10:1

Caesarea was about 30 miles north of Joppa, was built by Herod the Great, and was named after Caesar.

Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, (Acts 10:1)

B. He was a Roman centurion - Acts 10:1. He was part of a group of Italian soldiers and was captain of a hundred men.

Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, (Acts 10:1)

C. He was a God-fearing Gentile - Acts 10:2

a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually. (Acts 10:2)

D. His vision - Acts 10:3-7

About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in to him, and said to him, "Cornelius!" And fixing his gaze upon him and being much alarmed, he said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. "And now dispatch some men to Joppa, and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; he is staying with a certain tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea." And when the angel who was speaking to him had departed, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were in constant attendance upon him, (Acts 10:3-7)

E. The servants from the centurion’s house call on Peter - Acts 10:17-18

Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon's house, appeared at the gate; and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. (Acts 10:17-18)

The Vision of Peter

A. The time of day (12:00 pm) - Acts 10:7-9

And when the angel who was speaking to him had departed, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were in constant attendance upon him, and after he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. And on the next day, as they were on their way, and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. (Acts 10:7-9)

B. The vision - Acts 10:11-18, Colossians 2:6-9, and 1 Timothy 4:1-5

and he beheld^ the sky opened up, and a certain object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat!" But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean." And again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." And this happened three times; and immediately the object was taken up into the sky. Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon's house, appeared at the gate; and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. (Acts 10:11-18)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, (Colossians 2:6-9)

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

The Victory of Peter

A. The trip from Joppa to Caesarea - Acts 10:19-23

And while Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you. "But arise, go downstairs, and accompany them without misgivings; for I have sent them Myself." And Peter went down to the men and said, "Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?" And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you." And so he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he arose and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. (Acts 10:19-23)

B. The greeting of Cornelius - Acts 10:24-26. Among the Greeks and Romans, this greeting was given only to their many gods. Peter declines it he does not consider them as gods, but mortals.

And on the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. And when it came about that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man." (Acts 10:24-26)

C. Peter's lesson on race prejudice - Acts 10:27-29

And as he talked with him, he entered, and found many people assembled. And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. "That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. And so I ask for what reason you have sent for me." (Acts 10:27-29)

D. Cornelius explains his vision - Acts 10:30-33

And Cornelius said, "Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he said^, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 'Send therefore to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.' "And so I sent to you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord." (Acts 10:30-33)

E. Peter's message to the Gentiles

1. The reach of God's message - Acts 10:34-35

And opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him. (Acts 10:34-35)

2. The relevance of God’s message - Acts 10:36-43

"The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)--you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. "And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. "God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins." (Acts 10:36-43)

3. The reception of God's message - Acts 10:44-48

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)

Study Questions

1. Who were the centurions? - Acts 10:1

Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, (Acts 10:1)

2. What hour was the ninth hour? - Acts 10:3

About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in to him, and said to him, "Cornelius!" (Acts 10:3)

3. What was the importance of Peter's vision? - Acts 10:34-35

And opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him. (Acts 10:34-35)

4. Is there a lesson that we can learn from verse? - Acts 10:28

And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. (Acts 10:28)

5. Why did Peter rebuke Cornelius for worshiping him? - Acts 10:25-26

And when it came about that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man." (Acts 10:25-26)

6. What does the term "they of the circumcision" mean? - Acts 10:45

And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. (Acts 10:45)

7. How many of these Gentiles were converted and filled with the Holy Spirit? - Acts 10:44

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. (Acts 10:44)

8. What does the term "the quick and the dead" mean? - Acts 10:42

"And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42)


Return to Home Page Return to Acts Main Page Return to Top of Page