Thursday, August 2, 2018
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ACTS ~ Chapters 10 & 11
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO Acts ~ Chapter 10:
There was a man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, who was a captain in an Italian company of the Roman army. Both he and his family were pious and God-fearing. He was also generous to the poor, and prayed constantly. One day at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, he had a vision. He clearly saw an angel of Elohei coming to him, and heard him say, “Cornelius.” He stared at him, and said, as he was becoming fearful, ‘What is it Adonai?’ He answered, “Your prayers and your charities have gone up to Elohei as a memorial. Now send some men to Joppa and ask Simon, called Peter, to come here. He is living with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the seashore. He will tell you what you ought to know.”
When the angel who had spoken to him had left, Cornelius called in 2 of his servants and a pious soldier who waited on him at all times. After telling them what had taken place, he sent them on to Joppa.
The next day they set out on their journey and about noon they were coming near to the town. Just then Peter went up on the housetop to pray. He became very hungry and craved something to eat. But while they were making dinner ready, he fell into a vision. He saw the heavens opening and a vessel coming down to him, more like a big tablecloth let down to the earth by its 4 corners. On this cloth were placed all the 4-footed creatures of the earth, including wild beasts and creeping things and birds of the air. A voice came to him saying, “Rise Peter; kill and eat.” ‘Not at all, Adonai,’ said Peter, ‘for I have never eaten anything prohibited or unclean.’ The voice came a 2nd time to him, “What Elohei has cleansed you must not consider unclean.’ This was repeated 3 times – after which, the vessel was taken back into heaven.
As he was thinking about the meaning of the vision, the men whom Cornelius had sent came. They had first inquired as to Simon’s house, and now they were standing by the porch. They called out to ask if Simon Peter were lodging there. Peter was still meditating about the vision when The Ruach said to him, “See 3 men are looking for you. Get up and go down to them, It is I Who sent them, so do not have any misgivings.” Peter then went down to the men who had been sent to him by Cornelius and said, “I am the one that you are looking for. What is your errand?” They said, ‘We come from Cornelius. He is a captain and an upright and God-fearing man, to which the whole Jewish nation can testify. He was instructed by a holy angel to send for you, to ask you to come to his house so he may hear what you have to say.’
Peter then called them in and gave them lodging for the night. The next day he went back with them and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And the day after that they arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and meanwhile had gathered his relatives and intimate friends at his house. When Peter came in, Cornelius met him, then fell at his feet to worship him. But Peter raised him up, saying, “Get up. I am just a man like yourself.” With these words he went into the house, where he found a great many gathered.
He said to them, “You know, of course, that it is against the law for a Jew to associate with one of another race, or even to visit them. But Elohei has shown me that no man is vulgar or unclean. For that reason I came without any hesitation when you sent for me. But I want to ask why you sent for me.” Cornelius answered, ‘4 days ago at this time, 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I was at prayer here at home when all at once I saw a man standing before me in bright apparel. He said to me, “Cornelius, Elohei has heard your prayers and has remembered your gifts to charity. You must send to Joppa and ask Simon, who is also called Peter, to come here. He is staying at the home of Simon the tanner, by the seaside.” So I sent for you at once and you did well incoming. And here we are now, in Elohei’s presence, ready to hear whatever Elohim has told you to say.’
Then Peter spoke: “Truly Elohim is not a respecter of persons. That I can see. He is pleased with any man in any land who fears Him and does what is right. Now he has sent His Word to the sons of Israel, in which He announces the glad tidings of peace through Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, Who is Lord of all. You know the story of what has happened throughout all of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached. You know how Elohim anointed Yeshua of Nazareth with The Ruach and with power and how He went about doing good and healing everyone who was oppressed by Lucifer, because Elohim was with Him. We are witnesses of all that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. But Elohim raised Him up on the 3rd Day and permitted Him to be clearly seen. Not everyone saw Him, but we saw Him, having been chosen His witnesses beforehand, and we ate and drank with Him after He had been raised from the dead. And He gave us the commission to preach to the people, to testify fully that He is the One Whom Elohim has appointed to be Judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify to this, that everyone that believes in Him will have his sins forgiven through His Name.”
Even while Peter was preaching this sermon, The Ruach came upon all who were listening to his message. The Jewish Believers who came along with Peter were astounded at the fact that the gift of The Ruach had been poured out upon the non-Jews also. For they heard them talking in other tongues and praising Elohei. Peter then said, “Can anyone refuse these people baptism with water, seeing that they have received The Ruach just as we have?” He then gave orders that they should be baptized in the Name of Adonai Yeshua. This done, they begged him to stay there a while longer.
The apostles and brethren who were in Judea learned that non-Jews also had received the Word of Elohei. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem again, those who still held to the need of circumcision criticized him. The said, ‘Why did you visit the uncircumcised and eat with them?’ Peter then began to realize what had happened in consecutive order.
“I was in the town of Joppa, and at prayer,” he said, “when a vision came upon me, in which I saw what seemed like a sort of vessel coming down. It was like a great tablecloth let down from heaven by its 4 corners. It stopped when it reached me. I was watching carefully and thinking, as I noted what was on the sheet – quadrupeds, including the wild beasts, also creeping things and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, “Rise up, Peter, kill and eat.” But I answered, ‘By no means, Adonai, for nothing common or unclean has ever come into my mouth.’ Then the voice from heaven spoke a 2nd time, “What Elohei has made clean you must not call unclean.” This was done 3 times, after which it was all withdrawn into heaven. At this very moment 3 men stopped at the house where I was staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. The Ruach told me to go with them without hesitation, and I went, accompanied by 6 brethren, and we entered the house of the man. He related to us how he had seen an angel in his own home. The angel had stood before him and had said, “Send some men to Joppa to ask for Simon Peter. He will tell you how you can be saved; yes, you and your whole household.”
“As I began to talk to them, The Ruach came down upon them just a He had on us at the beginning. Then I recalled that Adonai had said, “John indeed baptized with water, but you will be baptized with The Ruach.” Now, since Elohei gave them the same gift as He had given us for believing in Adonai Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, who was I that I should try to hinder Elohim?” When they heard this statement, they were satisfied and praised Elohei, saying, ‘So Elohei gives life also to the Gentiles through repentance!’
Of those who had fled from the persecution against Stephen, some went up to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. They preached the Word – but only to the Jews. There were, however, some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who came to Antioch and spoke with the Greeks there, preaching the Gospel of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach. The hand of Adonai was with them, so that a great number turned to Yeshua in Faith.
This good report came to ears of the assembly at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to follow up at Antioch. When he came there and saw how gracious Elohim had been to them, he rejoiced and exhorted everyone to have a resolute heart and to hold fast to Yeshua. He was a good man, full of The Ruach and Faith. And many people were won over to Yeshua.
The Barnabas went on further to Tarsus to find Saul. When he found him, he brought him back with him to Antioch. For a whole year they labored there in the assembly, teaching large gatherings. It was there in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
At that time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, got up and, under inspiration of The Ruach, prophesied that a severe famine would come upon the whole inhabited earth, and this came to pass under Emperor Claudius (Claudius was Roman emperor from 41 to 54). So the disciples decided that each one should give according to his prosperity to the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did – sending their contribution in the care of Barabas and Saul to the elders there.