Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 10:1-21
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 10:1, 2
vs1-2: While Peter was ministering in Joppa, an angel of the Lord appeared to a Roman soldier in a nearby city. What he told that soldier set in motion a series of events which would become a major turning point in church history. His name was Cornelius. He was a centurion (officer in charge of one hundred men) out of a company of soldiers called the “Italian cohort.” These were security troops assigned to protect the representative of the Roman government in Caesarea. At that moment in time King Herod Agrippa was the official representative (J. Rawson Lumby, The Acts of the Apostles in Cambridge Greek Testament, J.J.S. Perowne, ed., 1904, p.208).

Monday: Acts 10:1-3
vs1-2 (continued): Luke says Cornelius was devout (he zealously observed the Law of Moses, though he hadn’t become a Jew) and God-fearing (he was conscious that God saw every part of his life and believed that he would be held accountable for his sin and rewarded for his obedience). He was not alone in these qualities, the members of his household shared his faith. He did many acts of kindness, and gave gifts to help the poor, and he was a man who prayed continually, asking God to help him in everything he did. v3: Around three o’clock in the afternoon he saw a vision which was so vivid it seemed he was seeing it with his physical eyes. An angel entered the room, came up to him, and said, “Cornelius!”

Tuesday: Acts 10:4
v4: For a moment he was so terrified he could only stare at the angel and then finally he asked, “What is it Lord?” In effect, the angel said, “Your prayers and your gifts to the poor have risen up before God like the smoke of the memorial portion of a grain offering when it’s placed on the altar of sacrifice. They are a soothing aroma to the Lord” (Lev 2:2, 9, 16; 5:12; 6:15) (paraphrase). By using this imagery he was telling Cornelius that God considered his prayers and giving to be sincere acts of worship which pleased Him. The angel was not implying that Cornelius had earned God’s favor but with these words he assured him that God received his obedience as though he were a Jew who had gone into the temple to offer heart-felt worship.

Wednesday: Acts 10:5
v5: It appears that while he was stationed in Israel, Cornelius recognized that the God of the Bible is the true God. In being true to this revelation, he had forsaken the gods of Rome. This was a remarkably humble step given the fact that most Jews hated the soldiers of the occupying army. Yet, he moved boldly toward this truth so now God would give him more truth (Mt 13:12). The angel told Cornelius a man named Peter was staying in Joppa. He was to send men to locate him and to ask him to come back with them to Caesarea. Peter had a message for him from God (v22).

Thursday: Acts 10:6-9
v6: Peter was staying as a guest in the home of a man also named Simon. His host made his living tanning leather which was probably why his house was located outside of town, near the seashore where sea breezes could carry away unpleasant odors produced by his trade. vs7-8: As soon as the angel went away Cornelius summoned two of his household servants and a trusted soldier who shared his faith. He knew the soldier well because the man was assigned to him as his aide. As he gave them their orders he explained what had happened and then sent them to Joppa. v9: It’s approximately 32 miles from Caesarea to Joppa, along the main road, which would require about 16 hours of steady walking. The angel appeared to Cornelius at 3:00pm in the afternoon and immediately afterward the men were sent out. They reached Joppa a little after noon on the next day, but before they arrived Peter went up on the roof of the home in which he was staying to pray. Noon is a prayer time for observant Jews.

Friday: Acts 10:10-12
vs10-11: Apparently, someone was cooking lunch down below and the smell of the food drifted upward and surrounded Peter because Luke says he became “starved” and was longing to “taste” what they were cooking. While waiting for them to prepare the food he was suddenly overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit and a vision began to unfold in front of him. Heaven “opened up,” meaning the sky must have appeared to pull back to allow the brilliant light of heaven to shine through. Then a huge cloth sheet came down through this opening. It was made of fine, white linen, and was lowered down by its four corners until it rested on the earth. v12: When it reached the ground it flattened out and Peter was able to see what was in it. It contained a great variety of creatures which were considered to be unclean by the Law of Moses (Lev 11). Luke says it was filled with representatives from “all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.” Leviticus chapter 11 probably gives us an itemized list of the “unclean” creatures Peter saw: animals, fish, birds, rodents, lizards, insects and “whatever crawls on its belly… whatever has many feet.”

Saturday: Acts 10:13-21
vs13-16: So when Peter heard a voice command him to “rise up, Peter, butcher and eat!”, he responded with shock and revulsion, “Not even one, Lord, because at no time have I ever eaten from all those things that are common and unclean!” (literal). Then a voice spoke a second time saying, “What God made clean, you do not make common.” Three times this dialogue between God and Peter took place, and then the sheet full of animals was taken back up into heaven. v17: After the vision passed, Peter remained on the roof reflecting on all that he had just seen, trying to understand what it meant. While he was still in this condition, the messengers from Caesarea arrived. They had asked for directions to Simon’s house in Joppa and now stood on his porch calling to those inside asking if a man named Simon Peter was staying there. vs19-20: Peter didn’t hear them, but the Holy Spirit interrupted his thoughts telling him, “Behold, two men are searching for you. Stand up, go downstairs and go with them. Don’t hesitate (even though they are Gentiles and one is a Roman soldier), because I have sent them.” v21: Peter went down and said to the men, “Behold, I am he whom you seek. What charge has been made against me which brought you here?” In this statement Luke uses a word which implies that when Peter saw the Roman soldier he assumed he was being officially summoned or possibly arrested. 

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