Epistles of Thomas

October 20, 2008

Acts 10-12

Filed under: New Testament — Thomas @ 14:20

In chapter 10 we are introduced to Cornelius, a God-fearing Roman officer. He prayed to God regularly and aided the poor. An angel of God appeared to him and set in motion the events that would lead him to faith in Jesus. He is instructed to seek out Peter and meanwhile Peter is told to speak with Cornelius. Before Peter can do this he must understand that God’s kingdom includes Gentiles as Gentiles, without acceptance of the Jewish Law, in particular circumcision. Peter sees a vision and is told three times to accept what God has accepted. It is interesting how things in Peter’s life come in threes. In 10:44, the Spirit falls upon the Gentiles and “The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles” (v45). Their astonishment is understandable because this goes against thousands of years of Jewish belief and practice. It is also necessary because as 11:2f makes clear, like Peter before his vision, most Jews were not ready to accept Gentiles as equals before Christ.

Luke records that some of those who fled after Stephen’s persecution went to “Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.” Others, “men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.” Obviously, the early church was simultaneously moving in many directions without centralised control other than Holy Spirit.

Persecution came upon the church and James the brother of John was executed (12:2) but Peter was rescued from prison by an angel. No mention is made as to why God did not rescue James as well but clearly Peter’s rescue encouraged the believers. The chapter ends with Herod being struck dead, not for persecuting the Christians, but for allowing the people to call him a god (v22f). Apparently Herod was punished according to his understanding – he would have known from Judaism that a mere mortal cannot accept worship as a god. If God was going to punish people who misunderstood Jesus and persecuted believers Saul would never have had the chance to convert and spread the gospel.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: