CAESAREA: Caesarea was the capital of Judea under the
Roman procurators (eg, Pilate). It had been rebuilt and renamed from Strato's
Tower to Caesarea Sebaste (in honor of Augustus) by Herod the Great. Located on
the coast about 30 miles north of Jaffa (old Joppa) and about 30 miles nw of
Jerusalem, it was a magnificent city containing many palaces and lavish public
buildings, and a seaport. It was here that King Herod Agrippa I, in Luke's
account, "was eaten of worms, and died" (Acts 12:19-23). A city of mixed
population, leading to frequent Jewish-Gentile friction, it is connected in Acts
with various preaching efforts. Philip (one of the seven deacons, Acts 6:5),
lived there, together with his four daughters who prophesied (Acts
CENTURION: Every NT ref shows centurions in a good
light: Luk 7:1-10; 23:47; Act 10:1,2; 22:25,26; 23:17,18; 27:43.
CORNELIUS: Sig "beam of light". Poss Cornelius was also
the centurion of Luk 7 (see v 2n).
ITALIAN REGIMENT: A special legion associated with the
DEVOUT AND GOD-FEARING: A proselyte, an outer-court
worshiper (Elp 203), like the eunuch (Acts 8:27): Exo 12:48; Num 9:14;
There were 2 types of proselytes: (1) a "proselyte of
righteousness": a full proselyte, circumcised, admitted to all aspects of
worship, and (2) a "proselyte of the gate": who worshiped the God of Israel, but
had not submitted to circumcision, and was denied the closest association with
other Jews. Was the Ethiopian the first, and Cornelius the second? (SB
Were the centurion of Luke 7 and Cornelius the same person? A
comparison: Each was a lover of Israel (Luke 7:5; Acts 10:2,22). Each was a
lover of God (Luke 7:4; Acts 10:2,22). Each was a lover of Christ (Luke 7:6;
THREE IN THE AFTERNOON: "Ninth hour" (RSV). Time of
evening sacrifice (Act 3:1; Dan 9:21) and afternoon prayer (Psa 141:2). Time of
death of Christ (Mat 27:46).
HE DISTINCTLY SAW: Being awake, and not in a
HAVE COME UP: Ascended, like incense (Rev 5:8;
God hears one NOT "in covenant" (here), and He does not hear
one "IN covenant" (1Sa 28:6).
The angel has no commission to give instruction to potential
converts. This is reserved for other mortal men. (Even Christ does not first
JOPPA: The first prospective convert from among the
Gentiles calls on Peter (or Simon son of JONAH: Mat 16:17) at JOPPA, the very
place where the original Jonah had boarded a ship to run away from his call (Jon
1:3). This "son of Jonah", though, does not ignore the call, and so the sign of
Jonah (Mat 12:39-41) is finally and completely fulfilled in the repentance of
WHOSE HOUSE IS BY THE SEA: Across which Peter could
look toward the lands of the Gentiles!
KJV adds: " he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to
A DEVOUT SOLDIER: Poss the same servant who was healed
of his illness in Mat 8:6?
THE ROOF: A flat area, protected by a parapet (Deu
22:8), accessible by outside staircase (Act 20:10; Mat 24:17; Luk 5:19; 12:3;
17:31), suitable for privacy (1 Sam 9:25), used for various purposes (Neh 8:16;
1Sa 9:26; Jer 19:13).
A LARGE SHEET: Recalling an image most familiar to
Peter's early life: the wind-swept canvas of a craft on the lake of
AND EAT: Cp John 6:53-58: "I tell you the truth, unless
you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in
you..." This too was the eating of that which the orthodox Jew saw as an
abomination! Cp Acts 10:41.
SURELY NOT, LORD: Expressing a Jewish ceremonial
revulsion: cp v 39: the one who hangs on a tree is "unclean".
THIS HAPPENED THREE TIMES: Suggesting completeness,
finality (vv 19,40). Also suggesting the testimony of three witnesses (Deu
TAKEN BACK TO HEAVEN: As Christ, who was first unclean,
then made clean, and finally taken into heaven!
WENT DOWN: The classic language of theophany, or
Yahweh-manifestation, occurs often in Acts in the context of gospel preaching,
as if the witness to the gospel were another manifestation of the Yahweh-Name:
Act 8:5; 10:21; 13:4; 14:25; 15:30; 16:8; 18:22.
WHY HAVE YOU COME?: Did he think, perhaps, that they
had come to arrest him?
Did Peter now recall the other request, made by a centurion to
Jesus (Luke 7)?
TO BE HIS GUESTS: "Practice hospitality to one another
without grumbling" (1Pe 4:9). Peter had already begun to eat with
SOME OF THE BROTHERS: Six of them (Act 11:22). Brethren
from the local ecclesias, to act as witnesses.
I AM ONLY A MAN MYSELF: Cp experiences of Paul and
Barnabas (Act 14:15). Also cp Luk 5:8; Rev 19:10; 22:8,9. By ct, Christ accepted
GOD HAS SHOWN ME THAT I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY MAN IMPURE OR
UNCLEAN: Cp Eph 2:11-22.
FOUR DAYS AGO: Cornelius sym the Gentiles -- dead in
their sins for 4,000 years until the death of Christ. Cp Joh 11:39: Lazarus dead
for four days.
WE ARE ALL HERE TO LISTEN: Cornelius had gathered
together others also to hear Peter.
GOD DOES NOT SHOW FAVORITISM: "God is no respecter of
persons" (AV). A good and righteous ancestry is by itself no recommendation to
God. A Chicago bank once asked for a letter of recommendation upon a young
Bostonian being considered for employment. The Boston investment house to which
the bank applied could not say enough about the young man. His father, they
wrote, was a Cabot; his mother was a Lowell. Further back was a happy blend of
Saltonstalls, Peabodys, and other of Boston's first and foremost families. His
recommendation was given without hesitation. Several days later, the Chicago
bank sent a note saying the information supplied was altogether inadequate. It
read: "We are not contemplating using the young man for breeding purposes. Just
YOU KNOW THE MESSAGE GOD SENT TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL:
They possessed considerable familiarity with gospel already.
PEACE: Actually, the breaking down of the middle wall
of partition (Eph 2:15-17). Peter is preaching "peace" to a professional
WHO IS LORD OF ALL: He is so much more than another
HOW GOD ANOINTED JESUS...: Cp Isa 42:1; 60:1.
HE WENT AROUND DOING GOOD: "Few words, but yet an
exquisite miniature of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are not many touches, but
they are the strokes of a master's pencil. Of the Saviour and only of the
Saviour is it true in the fullest, broadest, and most unqualified sense. From
this description it is evident that he did good personally. The evangelists
constantly tell us that he touched the leper with his own finger, that he
anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where he was asked to speak
the word only at a distance, he did not usually comply, but went himself to the
sick bed, and there personally wrought the cure. A lesson to us, if we would do
good, to do it ourselves. Give alms with your own hand; a kind look, or word,
will enhance the value of the gift... Our Lord's mode of doing good sets forth
his incessant activity! He did not only the good which came close to hand, but
he 'went about' on his errands of mercy. Throughout the whole land of Judea
there was scarcely a village or a hamlet which was not gladdened by the sight of
him. How this reproves the creeping, loitering manner, in which many professors
serve the Lord. Let us gird up the loins of our mind, and be not weary in well
doing. Does not the text imply that Jesus Christ went out of his way to do good?
'He went about doing good.' He was never deterred by danger or difficulty. He
sought out the objects of his gracious intentions. So must we. If old plans will
not answer, we must try new ones, for fresh experiments sometimes achieve more
than regular methods. Christ's perseverance, and the unity of his purpose, are
also hinted at, and the practical application of the subject may be summed up in
the words, 'He hath left us an example that we should follow in his steps' [1Pe
THEY KILLED HIM BY HANGING HIM ON A TREE: Cp Act 5:30;