Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition. “III. The Acts of Peter and Beginnings of Gentile Christianity (9:32-12:25)” “B. The Story of Cornelius (10:1-48)” pp. 199-218.
Acts chapter 10 moves the account of the Gospel definitively across ethnic lines. In this chapter, the Gospel comes clearly and effectively to a Gentile household, that of Cornelius (Bruce 1988, 201). Bruce observes that previous mentions of Gentiles have been favorable. However, this is the first definitive instance of the Gentiles receiving the Gospel by faith. The encounter further raises the question dealt with in chapter 15. Can Gentiles become Christians without first converting to Judaism? The answer, of course, is affirmative.
Bruce surveys Roman religious observances in brief and concludes that many Roamns were willing to adopt the relatively simpler and more straightforward faith of the Jews, though without a full conversion and circumcision (Bruce 1988, 203).
In verses 3-8 Cornelius was instructed by a heavenly vision that his prayers were accepted and that he should send for Peter. He did so immediately (Bruce 1988, 204). In verses 9-16, the following day, Peter had a vision. Bruce notes the purpose of Peter’s vision to prepare him for an interaction with Gentiles. This is osmething which Jews would normally avoid (Bruce 1988, 205). In the vision, God proclaimed unclean foods as clean. This worked to break the barriers surrounding ceremonial impurity (Bruce 1988, 206).
In verses 17 and following, Peter received instructions from the Holy Spirit that he should go with the messengers of Cornelius. He obeyed the instructions (Bruce 1988, 207). Bruce observes that Peter would be open to criticism for welcoming the messengers into the house. He certainly would create a stir by going with them (Bruce 1988, 208).
Acts 10:23-33 describes the scene upon Peter’s arrival at Cornelius’ house. The household was assembled for the messasge of Peter. They received him as a messenger from God (Bruce 1988, 209). Peter had reached the conclusion that he should receive and be received by Gentiles (Bruce 1988, 210). He asked Cornelius to describe his vision. Until then neither Cornelius nor Peter knew what they were to say.
In verses 34-43 Peter described God’s attitude very clearly. God does not play favorites. Those who trust him are forgiven (Bruce 1988, 211). This was a revolutionary message to Peter and to Cornelius. Peter went on to tell of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the heart of the Gospel (Bruce 1988, 212). Despite Jesus’ goodness, he was put to death and raised on the third day (Bruce 1988, 214). As a result of the resurrection, the disciples were commanded to proclaim the truth to the nations. The real forgiveness of sins was the message of all the Scriture. It was for all the nations (Bruce 1988, 215).
The chapter concludes withan outpouring of the Holy Spriit, baptism for the household, and several days of teaching (Bruce 1988, 216). Bruce observes the distinctive in this instance. The people of Acts 10 repented, believed, and received the holy Spirit before being told to do so or being baptized (Bruce 1988, 216). The signs of speaking in tongues apparently make it clear that conversion has happened. Bruce acknowledges this as necessary for the Jews to see.