Acts 10 : 34a, 37 - 43 ( NRSV )

Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality; 1(34a)...
That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:(37) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth2 with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.(38) We are witnesses 3 to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;(39) but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,(40) not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.(41) He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 4(42) All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."(43)


     Acts focuses on the mission of Jesus' disciples beyond His absence from them. Peter's address to the household of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, marks the start of the disciples' movement outwards - from Jerusalem to the gentile world. Peter had lacked either understanding or courage to proclaim publicly what God had done, in and through Jesus, until the moment after Jesus' resurrection, when the Holy Spirit baptised and empowered the apostles to speak (Ac.2:1-4).
     It is the Holy Spirit who directs Peter to the house of Cornelius and would guide in detail the admission and baptism of the first gentiles (Ac.10:38, & 10:44-47) to become followers of Jesus' way. Peter proclaims a message which has the power-for-life. It is a message in continuity with the good news of Jesus; indeed of the whole Hebrew tradition of the Torah and the Prophets (v:43).
     Peter's proclamation is a sign of a continuing message as well as a continuing power. The apostle is the vehicle of the Spirit, bearing witness to Christ in the household of a non-Hebrew. It is part of the general movement recorded in the Book of Acts, in which the proclamation shifts from Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, to the ends of the earth (In terms of geographic distance, little old Aotearoa-New Zealand marks the end of the line of that extension)!!
Acts 10:1-48 The narrative centers on the conversion of Cornelius, a Gentile and a "God-fearer." Luke considers the event of great importance, as is evident from his long treatment of it. The incident is again related in Ac.11:1-18 where Peter is forced to justify his actions before the Jerusalem community and alluded to in Ac.15:7-11 where at the Jerusalem 'Council' Peter supports Paul's missionary activity among the Gentiles. The narrative divides itself into a series of distinct episodes, concluding with Peter's presentation of the Christian kerygma (Ac.11:4-43) and a pentecostal experience undergone by Cornelius' household preceding their reception of baptism (Ac.11:44-48).
1. [ v.34 ] Peter's speech to the household of Cornelius typifies early Christian preaching to Gentiles. The revelation of God's choice of Israel to be the people of God did not mean he withheld the divine favor from other people.
2. [ v.38 ] Jesus of Nazareth: God's revelation of God's plan for the destiny of humanity through Israel culminated in Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, the ministry of Jesus is an integral part of God's revelation. This viewpoint explains why the early Christian communities were interested in conserving the historical substance of the ministry of Jesus, a tradition leading to the production of the four gospels.
3. [ v.39 ] We are witnesses: The apostolic testimony was not restricted to the resurrection of Jesus but also included His historical ministry. This witness, however, was theological in character; the Twelve, divinely mandated as prophets, were empowered to interpret His sayings and deeds in the light of His redemptive death and resurrection. The meaning of these words and deeds was to be made clear to the developing Christian community as the bearer of the word of salvation (cf Ac.1:21-26).
4. [ v.42 ] As judge of the living and the dead: The apostolic preaching to the Jews appealed to their messianic hope, while the preaching to Gentiles stressed the coming divine judgment; cf 1 Th.1:10.

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