Acts 10: God’s Chosen People

As a centurion serving at Caesarea under Pontius Pilate, what might Cornelius have seen and heard about the three years of Jesus’ ministry?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:1 In Caesarea, Cornelius was captain of the Roman army stationed there.
King James
Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band.

Since Roman officials had to answer to Caesar for what happened in their territories, how much knowledge might Cornelius have had about Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension? Could he have known what happened on the day of Pentecost?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:1 In Caesarea, Cornelius was captain of the Roman army stationed there.
King James
Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band.

Since Cornelius was Roman, why would he have prayed to God and not Jupiter or one of the other gods? What reason did he have to fear God and give to the Jewish poor people?

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Acts 10:2 He was a devout, God-fearing man who, with his household, gave liberally to the poor and always prayed to God.
King James
Acts 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

What do you think Cornelius was doing when an angel appeared to him?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 3:1 At the customary hour of prayer, about three o’clock, Peter and John were going to the Temple.
10:3 One afternoon around three o’clock, an angel of God appeared to him, saying, “Cornelius!”
King James
Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
10:3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

Why would Cornelius have been afraid of an angel?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:4 Terrified, Cornelius said, “What is it, sir?” The angel said, “God has heard your prayers and has seen you giving to the poor.
King James
Acts 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

What was the angel’s mission?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:4 Terrified, Cornelius said, “What is it, sir?” The angel said, “God has heard your prayers and has seen you giving to the poor.
10:5 Now send men to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter,
10:6 who is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is near the seashore.”
King James
Acts 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
10:5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
10:6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

Why might Cornelius have chosen two servants and a Roman soldier to find Peter? What religious beliefs do you think these three had?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:7 When the angel was gone, Cornelius sent for two servants and a loyal soldier,
10:8 explained the mission, and sent them to Joppa.
King James
Acts 10:7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
10:8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

In following their heritage, Jews prayed three times a day, the hours ending at 9:00 a.m., noon, and 3:00 p.m. When Peter went to the rooftop to pray, about how many hours did the travelers take to cover the thirty-mile journey, excluding eight hours to make camp and sleep?

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Psalm 55:17 I pray morning, noon and night, and the Lord will hear my cry.
Daniel 6:10 Daniel knew the edict had been signed, he went still left his windows open toward Jerusalem and knelt before God to pray three times a day, just as he had before.
Acts 10:3 One afternoon around three o’clock, an angel of God appeared to him, saying, “Cornelius!”
Acts 10:9 The next day, while the men were on their way, Peter was on the housetop around noon, praying.
King James
Psalm 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Acts 10:3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
Acts 10:9 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.

Do you think Peter’s hunger at noon was physically or spiritually inspired? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:10 He became very hungry and asked for something to eat, but he fell into a trance while the meal was being prepared.
King James
Acts 10:10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance.

What was Peter’s objection to the food that God was offering him? Why would it not be proper to do whatever God asked?

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Acts 10:11 The sky opened, and a large sheet descended with ropes tied to the four corners,
10:12 containing all kinds of animals—wild beasts, reptiles, and birds.
10:13 “Get up, Peter,” a voice said, “kill and eat.”
10:14 “Oh no, Lord,” Peter said. “I’ve never eaten anything but kosher food.”
King James
Acts 10:11 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:
10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

What argument did God give to overcome Peter’s objection?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:15 Again the voice spoke: “Anything I have cleansed is kosher. Do not regard it as unclean.”
King James
Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Why do you think the offer was repeated two more times?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:16 The same vision came twice more, and then the sheet was lifted into the sky and disappeared.
King James
Acts 10:16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

If Peter had not seen the vision, how do you think he would have reacted to the Spirit saying he should go with the three foreigners outside the front gate?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:17 As Peter considered what the vision might mean, men sent by Cornelius were standing at the gate outside Simon’s house,
10:18 asking if Simon called Peter was staying there,
10:19 while on the housetop, as Peter was still pondering the vision, the Holy Spirit said, “Three men are here, asking for you.
10:20 Stand up, go downstairs, and follow them without question, for I have sent them.”
King James
Acts 10:17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,
10:18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
10:20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

From the roof, Peter would have heard a man calling for him. Do you think he looked down from the roof to confirm what the Spirit had told him? If so, what might tell him that the men were not Jews?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:19 While on the housetop, as Peter was still pondering the vision, the Holy Spirit said, “Three men are here, asking for you.
10:20 Stand up, go downstairs, and follow them without question, for I have sent them.”
King James
Acts 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
10:20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

In seeing a Roman soldier, what might Peter have imagined the men’s purpose to be?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:21 Peter met Cornelius’s men and said, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
King James
Acts 10:21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?

The men stayed with Peter overnight, then spent two days walking the thirty miles back to Caesarea. What might their conversation with Peter been like during that time?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:22 “The Roman officer Cornelius is a righteous, God-fearing man who is well-liked by the Jewish people” they said. “An angel of God told him to send us to you, to ask you to come to his house so he can hear what you have to say.”
10:23 So Peter invited them in to spend the night. The next day, he and other believers from Joppa went with the men.
King James
Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
10:23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Why do you think believers from Joppa accompanied Peter? How many do you think there were?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:23 So Peter invited them in to spend the night. The next day, he and other believers from Joppa went with the men.
11:12 The Holy Spirit urged me to go with them without hesitation, so I and these six brothers went to the house of the man who had sent for us.
King James
Acts 10:23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house.

Anticipating Peter’s arrival, Cornelius invited relatives and friends. How long might they have waited, and what would they have talked about during that time?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:24 A day later in Caesarea, Cornelius called his relatives and close friends together and was waiting for Peter to arrive.
King James
Acts 10:24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

What might the Roman soldier have thought when he saw his commander kneeling before a Jewish peasant?

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Acts 10:25 As Peter came in, Cornelius fell to his knees in reverence.
King James
Acts 10:25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.)

Jews saw themselves as God’s special people and others as inferior. Upon what do you think Peter’s humility was based?

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Acts 10:26 Peter took him by the hand. “Stand up,” he said. “I’m only a man, no better than you.”
King James
Acts 10:26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

How would you describe the attitude of the crowd when Peter walked into the room?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:27 They were still talking to each other when they entered the room where everyone had assembled.
King James
Acts 10:27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

In essence, Peter greeted the people by saying, “You know, a Jew would never agree to come.” How do you think they felt after hearing that God had changed Peter’s mind about them?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:28 “You know,” Peter said, “that Jews aren’t allowed to keep company with foreigners, but God has shown me that I should not reject what he has cleansed.”
King James
Acts 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Peter asked why he had been called, but he had already heard what the soldier and servants said. Why was it important for him to hear the details, first-hand, from Cornelius?

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Acts 10:29 Therefore, I came without hesitation. Now tell me, why have you sent for me?”
King James
Acts 10:29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

Cornelius described a man in bright clothes appearing before him. Who might Peter have thought that person was?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:30 “Four days ago,” Cornelius said, “I was fasting and praying in my house at about this time, three o’clock, when a man stood before me in shining clothes.
King James
Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.

What would Peter have thought about the way in which Cornelius received Peter’s contact information?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:31 He said, ‘God has heard your prayers and has seen you giving to the poor.
10:32 Send men to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter, who is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is near the seashore, and when he arrives, listen to what he has to say.
King James
Acts 10:31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
10:32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.

What was Cornelius expecting to hear from Peter?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:33 Send men to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter, who is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is near the seashore, and when he arrives, listen to what he has to say.
11:14 He will tell you how you and your household can be saved.
King James
Acts 10:33 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

What insight did Peter give that he had never preached before?

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Acts 10:34 “Without a doubt,” Peter said, “I am convinced that God has no favorites among people,
10:35 but in every nation, God accepts those who fear him and are doing what is right.
King James
Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

How do you think Peter felt as he presented to foreigners the message that had been considered only for the Jews?

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Acts 10:36 God gave this message to the people of Israel, bringing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
10:37 You know what happened in Judea, beginning in Galilee when John preached his message of baptism.
10:38 God gave Jesus of Nazareth power to do good, enabled by the Holy Spirit to heal all who were oppressed by the devil—because God was with him.
10:39 We were eyewitnesses of all that Jesus did in Jerusalem and throughout Judea. Yet the Jews put him to death, hanging him on a cross.
10:40 After three days, God raised him from the dead and showed him alive to the people,
10:41 not to everyone, but to those God chose to be his witnesses, who dined with him after he rose from the dead.
10:42 He commanded us to spread the message everywhere, to testify that God has appointed him to be judge over all, both living and dead.
10:43 All God’s prophets spoke of him, that he would forgive the sins of those who believed in him.”
King James
Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
10:37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
10:38 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.
10:39 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:
10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
10:41 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.
10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

When the Holy Spirit fell upon the crowd, to what extent do you think this event matched what happened on the day of Pentecost?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:44 While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon everyone who was listening to him.
10:45 The Jewish believers with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit would be given to Gentiles.
10:46 These foreigners were praising God in languages unknown to them.
King James
Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

Since they had already been filled with the Holy Spirit, why was baptism important?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:47 “Can anyone object to their being baptized, since they have received the Holy Spirit the same as we have?”
10:48 So Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, making them a part of the body of believers, and he was asked to stay with them for several days.
King James
Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

What do you suppose happened during all the additional days that Peter spent with these new believers?

Author’s Thoughts
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Acts 10:48 So Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, making them a part of the body of believers, and he was asked to stay with them for several days.
King James
Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.