(1-18) Peter Reports to the Church
When Jewish Christians heard that Peter had gone and witnessed to some Gentiles, they at first criticized him. They were at first more concerned with keeping a set of religious rules and maintaining their set-apart existence than they were with seeing others who were different from them saved. Their reaction was very different from Heaven’s reaction. The angels of God have joy over every sinner who repents, giving no regard for a sinner’s race or culture. Peter, however, has come to recognize that God shows no partiality and gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to believing Jews and Gentiles alike. He asks: Who am I to stand in the way of God’s salvation?
After hearing about Peter’s vision, the Jewish Christians come to the same recognition. They stop criticizing and begin to glorify God for granting repentance that leads to life not only to them, but to Gentiles, as well.
(19-30) The Church in Antioch
Before Peter, we know that Philip preached the Gospel to a non-Jewish Ethiopian eunuch. But based upon the above reaction the Jewish Christians gave Peter upon hearing that he had preached the Gospel to Cornelius and his house, it appears that not very many non-Jews were being witnessed to at the time. Even after they were scattered abroad, Jewish Christians spoke the word of the Gospel to no one except Jews. They soon came to realize, however, that God wanted all people to be saved.
It is important to remember that it is not God’s will for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. The Great Commission commands us to, “Go into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to EVERY creature.” We must not be content with just seeing our people (our family, friends, etc.) come to Christ. We must pray, believe, desire, and work for every soul to come to know Christ as their personal Savior.
Favorite verse: (18) When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”