God’s Love, Power, and Compassion are magnified in Acts chapters 9 and 10 which illustrate the lengths to which God will go to save sinners and display His gracious, patience longsuffering with man’s stubbornness. These chapters introduce a change in God’s dealings with mankind, a new dispensation or administration. Now, through Jesus Christ, God reaches out to both those who persecute Him and to those who devoutly seek after Him with open hearts. In these chapters, we see the contrasts between Peter, Paul, and Cornelius – each devout, each zealous for God, each approaching Him differently. Beginning in these two chapters God reaches out to both Jew and Gentile offering them unity in and through Jesus Christ. Acts 9 is the conversion and commissioning of Saul (Paul), while Acts 10 is Peter’s preparation and encounter with Cornelius and his family of Gentiles.
God tells us:
John 3:17 (KJV) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Galatians 3:13 (KJV) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
John 1:12-13 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
In Peter, we find God’s patience with a devout yet very stubborn Apostle of Jesus Christ. In Cornelius, a humble devout Gentile who feared God along with all his family and “prayed to God always,” we find God’s compassionate embrace of all those who seek after Him in faith – be they, Jew or Gentile. In Saul, a zealous, closed-minded, law-abiding Pharisee, God shows His longsuffering and compassion for even the worst of sinners (1Timothy 1:15 above).
We learn from these encounters that God is never far away from anyone and is always ready, willing, and able to snatch us from Satan’s grasp.
These two chapters cover lots of theological ground – The purpose of signs, the efficacy of prayer, ministries of Peter and Paul, Jews and Gentiles, clean and unclean, circumcision, baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and more. They are worth the read and study – as is all Scripture.
The Holy Spirit falling upon Cornelius and family and their sudden ability to speak in other languages before Peter had baptized them, was a sign to Peter and to the Jews of God accepting Gentiles to worship Him, 1 Corinthians 1:22 (NASB) “For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom.”
With the diminishing of Israel, signs also fell into abeyance. At the (soon coming) appearance of the two witnesses in Revelation 11, and the restoration of the Kingdom, Israel will once again be called upon to shine the “light of God” in an unbelieving world. Although signs faded out during Paul’s ministry, we should never forget nor neglect the power of prayer. Luke 18:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 and Philippians 5:6-7,remind us to “Pray without ceasing.”
The essence of these chapters is expressed in 1Timothy 1:15-16. Paul’s obvious point here in Timothy is that “he is the example to all the world.” If Christ can forgive and save Paul, He can forgive save you and me. If Jesus can save Paul, there is no one, Jew or Gentile, willing to hear Jesus who is beyond the Holy Spirit’s power to bring to eternal salvation—no matter the depths of their sins.
1 Timothy 1:15–16 (NLT) This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
However, if we reject Him, Hebrews 2:3 warns:“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”
I am grateful to You, LORD, for giving us such meaningful examples as Peter, Paul, and Cornelius. Thank You for rescuing me and all who call upon Your Most Holy Name. Thank You for snatching us from the snares of the evil one and eternal damnation! Oh, what wonderful truths and hope those who neglect the study of Your Word are missing out on. May Your Holy Spirit open their eyes.
Malachi 3:16 (KJV) “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.” (Might this be the Lamb’s book of life?)
Isaiah 6:3 (KJV) “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Habakkuk 2:14 “For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.”
Acts 10:43 (KJV) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Ac 10:43. All the prophets, &c. The whole Mosaic economy of sacrifices, with all its imposing rites and ceremonies, was a prophetic representation of an atoning Savior. The expiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for the sins of the world, gives a profound and affecting significance to a ritual which would otherwise be trivial and unmeaning.–Believeth in him. To believe in Christ is to believe so cordially in all that he has taught and suffered on our behalf, that our conduct shall be in accordance with our faith. (Abbott New Testament Commentary)
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.
Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!