Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; Acts 10:34-37
As we remember , Peter had a vision from God and declared “Don’t call anything impure that God has made clean” As Peter pondered this vision , a centurion by the name of Cornelius was looking for Peter. Why was this man looking for Peter? Because if we remember previously, God sent an angel and told him to go find Peter
Now we need to understand who Cornelius is, a centurion is an office in the Roman army. From an outside perspective, this man should have no association with Jews or Christians. However Cornelius was a God-fearing man, and God was going to use him to spread the gospel of Christ even further!
Cornelius told Peter an angel came and told him to find him, once Peter understood this he started to realize what his vision meant by God. Peter understood that God no longer shows favoritism based on our nationality, that we become Children of God through Jesus Christ! This is the New Covenant
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. 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: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him 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. Acts 10:38-41
Peter then went on to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. He preached how Christ was crucified on the cross and was raised from the dead on the 3rd day. Peter also noted that they were eyewitnesses to the risen Lord. It’s a common theme throughout the book of Acts, that the resurrection of Christ , was the central theme of Christianity
God works in mysterious ways, at first Cornelius didn’t understand his visit by the Angel, at first Peter didn’t understand his vision, but eventually they all understood that Jesus brought the New Covenant Amen!
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: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 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: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. Acts 10:9-13
One of the great controversies in Christianity was the vision Peter received on the rooftop. There are many who debate what the correct interpretation of Peter’s vision is, was it just a sign of the New Covenant, or was it a direct message that we are no longer under the dietary laws of the Mosaic Covenant, or both?
Peter saw a vision from Heaven of many different kinds of animals, including reptiles and birds. Now knowing the Mosaic Law, reptiles and many of these animals were considered unclean and not appropriate to eat or you would be breaking the Torah. But God commanded Peter to kill and eat! What was God trying to tell Peter?
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Acts 10:14-16
Peter’s initial response was “No , Lord I have never eaten anything unclean” Even though God commanded Peter to eat the unclean animals, Peter was still afraid of breaking the Torah. This was, in my opinion, the purpose for this vision from God. Many today are still trying to live “Under The Law” instead of living under the grace of Jesus Christ. God was trying to reveal to Peter he is now in the New Covenant instead of the Mosaic Covenant
God also revealed to Peter “Don’t call anything impure what God has made clean” Peter still related these animals to being impure, however God is the creator of all things and can cleanse all things
I believe this is also a revelation of the Gentiles being grafted into the New Covenant. In the Mosaic Covenant, Gentiles (Non-Jewish) were considered unclean and should not be associated with. However Christ came to bring, Jew and Gentile, as children of God by the blood of Jesus! Amen!
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. Acts 9:20-22
Paul went from persecuting Christians to now preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, what happened? Paul became Born Again through Jesus on the Road to Damascus. God can transform and save anyone by his blood and spirit, Paul is a great example of this! When people heard Paul preaching they were amazed, saying “Isn’t this the same man who wreaked havoc on the Christians in Jerusalem”
Is this the same way people look and think about you? When people who knew you before you were saved, do they wonder how can this person be preaching about God? Yes our personal lives are a testimony of the power of the gospel, we became new creatures through Christ just like Paul
And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. Acts 9:23-25
Even though the Orthodox Jews didn’t understand Paul’s conversion, they had enough of him preaching about Jesus and plotted to kill him. Understand that your conversion will not be understood or possibly not accepted by the world around you. Anytime you preach the gospel, expect a strong reaction from the world. Because the world is enemies with God
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. Acts 9:26-28
Even the Christians were hesitant of accepting Paul, many didn’t truly believe he was a disciple. Did you ever feel this or experience this in a Church? Sometimes our conversions are too much for people to believe. How can God take a wretched sinner like them and make them a saint! Only by the blood of Jesus!
Make no mistake about it, Paul was transformed on the Road to Damascus, just as we are transformed when we become Born Again! Let your story be a testimony to our Lord Amen!
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Acts 9:10-12
Ananias was given a mission by The Lord, which many probably would have refused. He was called to baptize the same man who terrorized the Christians. As mentioned God can restore and use the worst of all sinners, Christ called Paul by name and made him Born Again
Paul was also given the vision of having Ananias restore his vision. God had a clear plan for Paul’s life, this “change of heart” was not by mistake or coincidental, Paul was called by Jesus to be a vessel for his Kingdom
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. Acts 9:13-16
Ananias expressed his concern with The Lord, this man Paul “has done much evil to Christians” however Jesus was stern “Go”! , Paul is a chosen vessel for Christ! But notice this calling is not going to be a walk in the park for Paul, Christ said “how much he will suffer in Jesus name” Paul had a great calling but it will also come at a great price!
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized Acts 9:17-18
Ananias put his hands on Paul as commanded by Christ, and he received the Holy Spirit. The scales fell from Paul’s eyes and now he is looking through the eyes of Christ. Were these literal scales or just figurative? Either way anyone who has become Born Again knows what its talking about. When you become Born Again in Christ, you see the world from a whole new perspective. You are now filled with the Holy Spirit, seeing things through the eyes of God
Paul’s conversion is a strong example of the grace of God and the spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ. When you are called by name, you will never be the same Amen!