The church started in Jerusalem among the Jews. After the death of Stephen they were scattered and began preaching to other ethnic groups, the Samaritans for example. A major question still had to be resolved: Are Gentiles eligible to be included in the Gospel and become a part of God’s new family?
This question was answered as far back as Abraham. God had said to him in Genesis 12 (Turning Point #2) “In your seed ALL NATIONS of the earth shall be blessed”. But exactly what that meant and the process of making the transition to include Gentiles as equals was very difficult for the Jews.
Today in Acts 10 we meet Cornelius, a God fearing Gentile who becomes a test for the early church. Are Gentiles to be received into the faith? Peter a vision from God intended to help him understand that the time for Gentiles has come.
Today’s reading: Acts 10:9-28.
Peter says it was previously unlawful for a Jew to keep company with Gentiles, but what lesson did he say God had taught him? (28)
It took a sign from God to fully persuade Peter of this. Finally God sends the Holy Spirit on Cornelius and his household. Read about this in 10:44-48 and 11:15-18. What did the sending of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles teach Peter?
Now the door has been officially opened to the Gentiles but the tensions between these groups will continue for some time. Even the first Christians struggled with accepting people who are different. How would we apply 10:28, “do not call any man common or unclean”, today?