The story of Saul’s conversion, and
his call by Jesus to be the special
apostle to the Gentiles, had barely
been told before there were yet
additional situations in which the
Holy Spirit was being manifest
through the apostles. It was an
amazing reality that these fledgling
church leaders were living in as
each day seemed to hold new evidences of the
Spirit’s work to confirm the ministry of these faithful
As we have already discovered in the earlier chapters
of Acts, even during this special time there were
still conflicts, disagreements and misunderstandings.
Unfortunately, when some folks felt that they
weren’t getting enough from the food distribution
they complained and steps were taken to be sure
everyone was cared for. Sometimes their disagreements
grew to a level of relatively serious conflict.
Until now, the believers were generally all of Jewish
descent, both as to nationality and religious beliefs.
However, these early followers of Jesus were called
to not only carry the gospel to Jerusalem, they were
also called to share this good news with the people
in Judea, Samaria, even to the ends of the earth. So
moving outside of Jerusalem and into other areas
revealed some significant differences in religious
understanding and social practices from what was
‘normal’ in Jerusalem.
In our sermon study this week we find Peter coming
into a very significant opportunity to move beyond
the confines of Jerusalem with the story of Jesus.
Many of us have heard about his very unusual call to
make a missionary visit. The manner in which this
invitation was delivered was even a bit strange, however
this only served to confirm in Peter’s mind that
God was engineering this mission opportunity.
Just as the angel told Ananias the exact location of
the house where Saul was waiting for healing,
another man who was a Roman centurion was told
where to find Peter. God had been communicating
with this man named Cornelius and his heart was
open for more of the gospel message. And just as it
was in the story of Saul, not only did this centurion
have a vision but so did Peter. Each vision was
relevant in light of the other one, and through a
divine appointment this seeker met the apostle.
But, in the midst of wonderful evidence of the
advancing gospel, now just because a Gentile
accepted Jesus there were those back in Jerusalem
who were just not quite sure that he qualified to a
member of ‘their church’. This challenge would
require a ‘God-sized’ solution.