Acts 10: Peter and Cornelius

In this blog post, I am going to go over chapter ten from the Book of Acts. I will be doing a good bit of paraphrasing in this post, but I will include scripture links for reference.

About Cornelius

Let’s start by looking at Acts 10:1-2 (NKJV) which says, “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,  a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.”. Here we are introduced to Cornelius, after doing some studying, I have a few items I would like to point out about Cornelius.

  1. He was a Centurion which were well known for their strong ability to lead.
  2. He was God-fearing.
  3. He gave alms (money or food for the poor).
  4. He prayed always.

Cornelius’ Vision

If you read Acts 10:4-8 you will find out that Cornelius had a vision from God. Now I want you to take notice that Cornelius is a person who was God-fearing and always seeking God. This prompted God to give Cornelius a vision that will lead him to some great revelation. In this vision God gives him instruction to send men to Joppa to get Peter, and for them to bring Peter back so they can listen to what Peter has to say.

Peter’s Vision

Acts 10:9-15 (NKJV) goes on to tell us, “The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.  In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.  And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”. There is so much here to take away from Peter’s vision he had, but here are a few points for now:

  1. This vision conflicted with the Jewish food laws of not eating unclean animals.
  2. Peter had this vision three times, and we will see why when we get to verse 28 in this chapter!

God Commands Peter

In Acts 10:17-18, we see that the men sent by Cornelius had arrived and were seeking Peter. Then in verses 19-20, God commands Peter to accept them and to go with them as they request. The men that Cornelius sent begin to talk to Peter and tell him about Cornelius and why he sent them. So, they lodged with Peter for the rest of the day. Then, the following day we see that Peter left with them to go back to Cornelius.  (Acts 10:21-23)

Peter and Cornelius Meet

In Acts 10:24-27 we see Peter and Cornelius meet, and Cornelius shows his willingness to listen to what Peter has to say. Acts 10:28-29 (NKJV) tells us, “Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.  Therefore, I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”. In these two verses we see not only was Peter’s vision from God in verses 9-15 to show us about unclean meats, but also the rule that Jews and Gentiles cannot associate with each other, was no longer in effect.  In Acts 10:30-33 Cornelius then explains what he heard from God after fasting and shows again that he has trusted in what Peter has to say. This shows us that if we want God to give us revelation, then we must seek Him daily. Cornelius leads by example with seeking God regularly, we also find out that he had this vision right after fasting.

Peter Preaches to Cornelius’ House

Peter then does some preaching to the house of Cornelius in Acts 10:34-43. Below are a few important points from Peter’s preaching:

  1. Acts 10:34: God is no respecter of person. It does not matter what your background is, God can transform and use anyone who is willing to fully submit to Him.
  2. Acts 10:40-41: Peter also talks about Jesus being raised from the dead, but only certain people (chosen by God) were able to witness this.
  3. Acts 10:43: Peter also discusses forgiveness of sins, which is only through believing in Jesus, not a priest in an enclosed room.

The Holy Spirit

In Acts 10:44-45 we see the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles, and the Jews who saw this were amazed. Additionally, Peter discusses water baptism in Acts 10:46-48. He mentions the importance of baptism as a response to converting to faith in Jesus. As we all know water baptism is only symbolic, but it simply represents the old man being done away with and the new man coming forth.

Final Thoughts

There is much to take away from Acts 10, I encourage you to take some time and read the chapter in its entirety. We see two examples of people having visions from God who regularly sought Him. Many Christians have it wrong that it just ends with being born again. (being born again is absolutely required for the start of our walk). The Holy Spirit teaches us all things as promised by Jesus in John 14:26. The Holy Spirit knows all things and leads us into all truth as written in John 16:13 and 1 Corinthians 2:10.