Acts Chapter 10: Cornelius and His House, Peter and the Sheet of Unclean Animals

Jan 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Acts, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Acts Chapter 10: Cornelius and His House, Peter and the Sheet of Unclean Animals

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

All of the events in Acts Chapters 1 through 9 occurred in a little more than three years, for Chapter 10, the account of the first Gentile convert, took place in AD 36.

Cornelius, a Roman centurion, lived in Caesarea. A centurion was a leader of a band of (usually) 100 soldiers, although sometimes the number was as high as 600.

Acts 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

Cornelius was commended for (1) being devout, (2) fearing (reverencing) God, (3) giving much alms, and (4) praying to God always (continually). What an unusual man—no wonder he was chosen as the first Gentile convert! However, up until this time, even with all of these qualifications, he was not in covenant relationship with God because favor had not yet gone to the Gentiles.

Comment: Since Cornelius was neither a Jew nor a proselyte, the phrase “with all his house” shows that he had a powerful influence on the rest of his household, or family.

Q: Is Cornelius the centurion who donated large sums of money to build a synagogue in Capernaum (Luke 7:5)?

A: It is purely speculative as to whether he is. Three centurions are favorably mentioned in the New Testament, and in about twelve instances, the word “centurion” is used to refer to an unnamed individual. This account in the Book of Acts is unusual because a name, Cornelius, is given. Of the multiple references to a “centurion” in the New Testament, we do not know how many of the citations refer to the same individual, but probably some of them do because of the similarities. The centurion who had the sick servant and went to Jesus for help donated money to the synagogue in the vicinity of Galilee. Here Cornelius of Caesarea is described as giving “much alms” to the people. These differences keep us from saying with certainty that the two centurions were the same personality.

Acts 10:3 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.

The “ninth hour of the day” was 3 p.m., the end of the Jewish service and the “hour of prayer” (Acts 3:1). The word “evidently” signifies that later, when this incident with Cornelius was recorded and the pieces were put together, everyone was impressed with how God had operated on both ends: with Peter in Joppa and with Cornelius in Caesarea. There were simultaneous prayers and actions where the Lord, at two extremes, was causing things to happen at the same time. Since Cornelius gave his alms to the people, we do not know whether he worshipped the God of Israel or just an unknown God, whom he believed existed.

Jesus gave the keys of the Kingdom of heaven to Peter (Matt. 16:19). Hence Peter was instrumental in opening the door to the Jews at Pentecost and now to the Gentiles via Cornelius in AD 36. To repeat: Peter opened the door to the Gentiles. Therefore, Philip’s preaching to the Samaritans earlier and his speaking to the Ethiopian eunuch were not the opening of the door to the Gentiles (Acts 8:5,26-28). Chronologically speaking, these facts are important, for the nation of Israel was to have exclusive favor for 70 “weeks” of years, and the door would be opened to the Gentiles at the end of that time period, or AD 36. Stated another way, when the Gentiles were addressed in AD 36, that marked the end of exclusive favor to the nation of Israel.

Acts 10:4 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.

“When he [the angel] looked [intently] on him [Cornelius], he was afraid.” Although Cornelius was fearful, he asked, “What is it, Lord?” Cornelius used the word “Lord” because he recognized that the angel was no ordinary person. (The vision was very real at the time.) The angel’s answer was significant, for it shows that the prayers of Cornelius had been accumulating higher and higher: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” Prayers are requests, and finally, after a period of time, the prayers of Cornelius demanded an answer. In other words, God had heard all of the prayers but had purposely delayed the answer regarding what Cornelius really wanted. Cornelius may have realized that God was rewarding him providentially, but the burden of his prayers was to know the way and the truth. He wanted to know God for a closer communion.

Acts 10:5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

Why did the angel instruct Cornelius to send others to Joppa and not tell Cornelius to go himself? Why was Cornelius to remain with the household? One reason could be that when the Holy Spirit came, it was on his whole household, his relatives, and his close friends—a company of Gentiles all gathered in his house. If Cornelius had gone to Joppa, the Holy Spirit would have come on him alone.

Acts 10:6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

“He [Peter] shall tell thee” what to do. The angel was saying, “Simon the tanner lives in Joppa in a house on the shoreline, on the coast of the sea. There you will find Simon Peter, who will tell  you what to do.” This instruction illustrates the principle of two witnesses, for there were twoSimons from two different backgrounds and families. Cornelius was given a double confirmation—to look for the Simon Peter in the house of Simon the tanner.

Acts 10:7 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;

Not only his family and servants but also a “devout soldier” had come under the influence of Cornelius and his reverence for God. Of those who waited on Cornelius continually, this devout soldier could be trusted for the important mission to come.

Acts 10:8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

Cornelius told the two servants and the soldier of his experience and then sent them to Joppa. It is interesting that Cornelius confided in them. As a man of influence, he could have just issued the order, but telling them of his experience had beneficial effects as follows:

1. They realized how important the mission was for Cornelius.

2. They could explain to Peter with conviction and reason why Cornelius wanted Peter to come back with them to Caesarea.

3. They would perform the mission speedily.

4. Assuming they were sympathetic to the views of Cornelius, they went to Peter with great zeal, and their enthusiasm was transmitted to Peter. A cold letter would not have had such an impact.

5. The two servants and the soldier knew that Peter should be respected.

Jesus had said that whatever a Roman citizen legitimately asked to be done, his disciples should do more: “Go with him twain [two miles]” (Matt. 5:41). Hence a Roman centurion had considerable authority not only over his own troops but also over the Jews.

Acts 10:9 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:

The two servants and the soldier had left the previous day toward evening and traveled by night. (Since Cornelius had had his vision at 3 p.m., the three would have left subsequently that same day.) Now it was the next day, and they continued on their journey. Joppa is about 40 miles from Caesarea, 80 miles round-trip. The trip took four days, two days each way (Acts 10:30). That was a long trip. As the three were in transit and nearing the city, Peter was on the housetop (the roof) in prayer at noontime, waiting for the meal that was being prepared.

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

Peter “became very hungry” before “he fell into a trance [a vision].” As he prayed, a terrific wave of hunger came over him. The hunger was greater than usual, and apparently, he made this fact known to the meal providers downstairs so that they would hurry the meal.

Acts 10:11 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:

Peter saw “heaven opened” and a vessel descending. In the vision, a huge sheet that curved upward at the four corners like a fitted sheet was coming down to the earth.

Acts 10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

In this tremendous sheet, which descended before Peter’s presence, were “all manner of  four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.” The sheet was tucked at the four corners to contain (like a vessel) a mixture of clean and unclean animals and birds.

Acts 10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

As Peter was kneeling or sitting in prayer, a voice said, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.”

Acts 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

When Peter looked at the mixture of so many clean and unclean animals and birds crowded together in the sheet (such as a lion, a camel, a hare, a hyena, a vulture, a hawk, a bat, a mouse, a lizard, and a snail), he said, “No, for I have never eaten any unclean thing.” In the conglomeration were animals and birds that were forbidden under the Law. Therefore, the command to eat was a temptation because he was very hungry. However, it was just like Peter to say, “No!”

Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Again the voice spoke, “Do not call common [unclean] that which God has cleansed.”

Comment: The account sounds as if all of the animals and birds in the sheet were unclean.

Reply: The Diaglott reads, “In which were all the four-footed beasts of the earth and the wild beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the heaven.” The fact that “all” quadrupeds were in the sheet implies the inclusion of both clean and unclean. Although Peter was looking at a conglomeration, the preponderance would have been unclean. Not only were there many animals, birds, and creeping things, but Peter was not familiar with all of them, so it was impossible for him to kill and eat only the clean ones. Peter was puzzled because God had said, “Rise … and eat,” and had not made any distinction between the clean and the unclean.

Acts 10:16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

This scene was repeated three times—the sheet being lowered, the voice speaking, and the sheet being taken up to heaven—so that there would be three witnesses. Also, the three times showed special emphasis. The actions had to be repeated because under the Law, the Jews were not only forbidden to eat unclean things but were admonished to stay separate from the Gentiles. Peter’s reaction shows that when one is cultured in a fellowship or doctrine to think along a certain line, it is extremely difficult to do independent thinking or to observe progression, especially if conscience is involved.

Why did the sheet come down from heaven? Although it is true that the sheet descended from heaven to show that the vision and the command to rise and eat came from God, there was a further meaning; namely, these creatures were all made by God. When God brought the creatures before Adam for naming, Adam was to name all of them, not just the clean ones (Gen. 2:19,20). The New Testament states, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4).

The sheet was called a “vessel,” and Noah’s Ark was also a vessel. Both contained clean and unclean animals. Noah and his three sons and their four wives were saved from the Flood, but so were all creatures indigenous to the area. (Fish were excluded in both cases.) It is important to realize that with both Noah’s Ark and this sheet, the animals represent human beings, clean and unclean. Noah is a type of Jesus, and his three sons picture three divisions of the Church. The four wives represent the covenant under which they were developed and to which they were bound.

Of the three perspectives or antitypes of Noah, we will briefly consider only the Kingdom picture after the Time of Trouble (the Flood) when the resurrection takes place. Survivors of the great Time of Trouble will be both clean and unclean, but by the end of the Millennium, all of the unclean will have been weeded out, and only the clean will remain.

Q: In the antitype, who are the surviving “clean animals” after the Flood, or Time of Trouble? Are they the Holy Remnant and the Ancient Worthies?

A: Yes, the surviving clean animals picture the Ancient Worthies in one sense and the Holy Remnant in another sense. The Ancient Worthies will come forth from the grave (the watery deep) perfect, being “just men” who “have done good” (Heb. 12:23; John 5:28,29). Baptism and Jonah’s whale in the sea are two other pictures where water symbolizes the grave.

Comment: With the sheet being huge and little Peter being on the ground, he might not have been able to see many of the animals until the sheet got down close to earth. Perhaps he heard animal sounds and bird calls, screeching, and squawking to add to the aura of mostly unclean creatures.

Reply: That could well be—the trumpet of an elephant, the bray of a donkey, etc. Imagine such an overwhelming picture occurring three times!

Acts 10:17 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 inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,

Acts 10:18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.

Peter was very confused about the meaning of this vision. He could not make the connection, and neither could we have done so back there. Meanwhile, the drama kept unfolding. The others, having arrived from Caesarea, were downstairs inquiring for Peter.

Acts 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

Acts 10:20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

The voice, or “Spirit,” said to Peter, “Three men seek you. Go with them, doubting nothing, for I [God] have sent them.” This specific direction was necessary in the midst of Peter’s perplexity.

Verses 19 and 20 sound as if the Spirit is a personality, so we must use other Scriptures to disprove that thought. The Spirit was like a voice in the ear. Sometimes the voice in the ear said, “Thus saith the LORD,” and sometimes not. There was no appearance, just instruction. The phrase “the Spirit said” was often used when “Thus saith the LORD” was omitted.

Acts 10:21 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?

Peter went obediently downstairs to see the men and asked why they had come.

Acts 10:22 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.

Again Cornelius was commended: “a just man … [who] feareth God, and of good report among … the Jews.” The Jews who resided in Caesarea knew of the generosity and alms of Cornelius. The three men from Caesarea explained their mission to Peter.

Acts 10:23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Peter invited the three to come in for food, lodging, and rest. Peter’s vision had started at noon and took perhaps an hour. Now he was ready to eat, so it was logical for him to invite the men in for a repast. The next morning (day 3), Peter left Joppa with the three to go to Caesarea. Six Jewish brethren accompanied Peter (Acts 11:12), for it was important to have Jewish witnesses.

Acts 10:24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

The “morrow after,” which was day 4, they entered Caesarea. This Caesarea was north of Joppa, 40 miles away, and on the seacoast. It was not Caesarea Philippi, which was north of the Sea of Galilee. During the four days’ wait, Cornelius had gathered together his relatives and close friends in anticipation of Peter’s arrival, and he had also fasted (Acts 10:30). To summon all of these individuals showed the faith of Cornelius.

Acts 10:25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

Acts 10:26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

Imagine seeing a Roman centurion fall down before a Jewish fisherman! Cornelius had worshipped God for many years—possibly even before he was stationed in Israel and before Jesus’ 3 1/2-year ministry. In succinct words, Peter corrected the centurion: “Stand up; I myself also am a man.” Subsequently Paul and Barnabas had a similar experience (Acts 14:12-15). And the Apostle John symbolically warned the John class not to inordinately revere the seventh messenger (Rev. 19:10). Reverence for God is important for all, Gentile and Jew.

Comment: Cornelius was an unusual man. He witnessed to family and friends and fasted for four days even before he became a Christian. What a wonderful spirit he manifested!

Acts 10:27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

Peter “found many that were come together.” Assembled there with Peter were Cornelius and his family, kinsmen, and close friends, as well as the two servants and the devout soldier sent to get Peter at Joppa and the six Jewish Christians who accompanied Peter to Caesarea. Just as a sizable number had witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Jews at Pentecost, so now a sizable group would witness the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles.

Acts 10:28 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 shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

To “keep company” means “to have close friendship with.” Although some contact with Gentiles occurred because Israel was under the control of Rome—for example, in business dealings—the Jews had maintained a strict reserve according to the Law. Now Peter realized that the Gentiles were no longer unclean if they accepted Christ, for three times God had shown him the vision of a sheet filled with clean and unclean animals and fowl coming down to earth, and the Holy Spirit had instructed him to go with the three men from Caesarea who came to the house in Joppa seeking him. Moreover, Peter was told to go without doubting or questioning. After feeding and lodging the three overnight, he departed with them the next morning.

Acts 10:29 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?

After the vision was given three times, Peter showed obedience and submission by going quickly and “without gainsaying,” that is, without verbal rebellion or protesting or further questioning, even though he was perplexed as to the meaning of the vision. The three men who were sent by Cornelius had testified to Peter that Cornelius was “a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews” (Acts 10:22). Although he knew that Cornelius, a centurion and thus a Gentile, was to “hear words” from him, Peter now asked, “Why did you send for me?” Peter wanted further particulars.

Acts 10:30 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,

The account was repeated in order to have a second and a third witness. The “ninth hour,” that is, 3 p.m., was the accustomed hour of prayer, the “time of incense,” the time of the evening sacrifice when the second daily lamb was offered (Luke 1:10; Exod. 29:39). At that hour, a “man” stood before Cornelius in bright clothing. We are reminded of the angel who appeared to Zacharias at the same time of day (Luke 1:11,12).

Acts 10:31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Acts 10:32 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.

Verses 31 and 32 give the angel’s message. The prayer of Cornelius had been heard, and his alms were remembered. In other words, God had previously taken note of his works and prayers, which had been accumulating, and now, in the year AD 36, was the time to officially recognize them.

Acts 10:33 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.

As a centurion who was used to promptness from the military command under him, Cornelius appreciated Peter’s quick response. Peter had come “immediately” the next morning after necessary food and sleep. The three men whom Cornelius had sent traversed the 80-mile round-trip in the minimum time of four days. Cornelius knew that Peter could not get to Caesarea in less than four days, but he had gathered the others in the hope that Peter would arrive as soon as possible. Of course Cornelius knew that his own servants and the soldier would get to Joppa in two days, for they were used to taking orders. Then he assumed that Peter would come quickly because the message was from God.

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Here are qualifications for acceptance: God is not a respecter of persons regarding those who (1) reverence Him and (2) “worketh righteousness.” The right heart condition is essential.

Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

Acts 10:37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

Acts 10:38 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.

Peter assumed that Cornelius, because of his position as a centurion, was well aware of Jesus and his reputation. However, Cornelius did not know Jesus as Savior. John the Baptist first attracted national attention with his purpose of introducing Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus then fulfilled his ministry of 3 1/2 years. Meanwhile, Cornelius feared (reverenced) God and was giving alms, but to have God’s favor in this new gospel dispensation, he needed to know about and accept Jesus’ role. Even though he was aware of Christianity as a “cult” of the Nazarene, and even though loyal followers were preaching that Jesus was sent of God, Cornelius needed assurance. Also, knowing that the Jews were very clannish and separate as a people, as was proper under the Law, he needed to be encouraged and recognized in a fashion that would persuade him.

When John the Baptist suddenly appeared from the desert to the Jewish people, they were startled both to see a man clothed in camel skin and to hear him preaching repentance and the coming of the Messiah. The people thought of the words in the last chapter of the Old Testament, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Mal. 4:5). They assumed that John the Baptist was Elijah the prophet, but John said, “The one who is coming after me is greater than me. I am not worthy to even tie his shoelaces.” Jesus backed up his claim to be the Messiah with many, many miracles. Although news was noised abroad that Jesus was a Prophet, one needed a personal calling by the Lord in order to be fully persuaded that he was the Messiah. Cornelius knew that he was to receive words (“all things”) from Peter, but he did not know in advance what those words would be.

Acts 10:39 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:

Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly;

Acts 10:41 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.

Acts 10:42 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.

Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Peter testified that God had anointed Jesus and that God’s favor was with him. Then Peter mentioned the Crucifixion. His words suggest that it was essential not to bypass the details which would bring into question whether Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus had professed to be the Messiah, yet he was crucified. To popularize the message of Jesus, human wisdom would dictate leaving out details that might create doubt and that would be an obstacle to belief. But the apostles told the truth just as it had literally happened and then gave their personal testimony that Jesus had risen from the dead.

After his resurrection, Jesus was seen by all of the apostles, who even ate and drank with him. “Him God raised up the third day, and showed … openly; 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.” Jesus was seen not by the nation but in the Galilee region and only by those whom God purposed. Relatively speaking, many were willing to testify that they had seen Jesus. On one occasion, he was seen by 500 brethren all at the same time, so there were many eyewitnesses (1 Cor. 15:6).

Jesus commanded the apostles to testify that he was “ordained of God to be the Judge of [the] quick and [the] dead.” In other words, Jesus was appointed by God to be the Judge of not only the living but also the dead.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Acts 10:45 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.

Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

What a startling account! Peter was starting to give a long baptismal sermon, or discourse, about Jesus when he was interrupted by a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s coming down as it had 3 1/2 years earlier at Pentecost with the Jews. Not only was the similarity to Pentecost astonishing to the Jews, but also, while Peter was actually speaking, the Holy Spirit descended without formal prayer and without an altar call, as it were. Peter had simply said that whoever believed in Jesus would receive the remission of sins through his name, and immediately the Holy Spirit came on the waiting Gentiles because they were in a receiving attitude. It is a testimony to the life and heart condition of Cornelius that he had witnessed to and gathered so many others to hear someone who had not yet arrived. Of the Gentiles assembled there, waiting in expectation, all were right-hearted and thus “heard the word” and received the Holy Spirit. Notice, too, that the Holy Spirit preceded baptism here, and there was no laying on of hands by the apostles.

Comment: These consecrations were bona fide. Some have reasoned, “How could all in a group be sincere at the same time?” but God would have carefully selected those who were present.

Reply: They were all in the right heart attitude. The account does not mean that every individual Cornelius invited came, but it means that those who responded and did come were in the right heart attitude and, therefore, received the Holy Spirit. Cornelius had probably told those he invited that an angel had appeared to him, and thus he passed on a message of confidentiality. His reaction of wanting to share his experience with others is characteristic of many when they first accept the truth. What is unusual is that Cornelius did this before Peter arrived.

Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Peter had been ready to give a long sermon, but now he reverted to his spontaneous, blunt fashion and addressed the six Jewish Christians who had accompanied him: “Can any man forbid water baptism to these Gentiles, since they received the Holy Spirit as we did?” Since Caesarea was on the Mediterranean coast, water for baptism was nearby. When none could forbid water baptism to these Gentiles, Peter “commanded” (gave the authority for) it to be done. One reason Peter authoritatively arranged baptism was for the benefit of the six Jewish brethren. He wanted to fix indelibly on their minds the acceptance of the Gentiles. After all, Peter knew how a devout Jew would react because three times he himself had needed to have the vision of the clean and unclean animals in the sheet. The role of the six Jewish brethren as witnesses would become very important at a subsequent gathering soon to take place, when Peter would be reprimanded for having baptized Gentiles.

After their baptism in the name of the Lord, the Gentiles “prayed” (besought, begged) Peter to stay and teach them more, wanting to hear all that he could tell them. No doubt Peter did stay.

(1991–1992 Study)

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