“Lessons from Acts 10”
Acts chapter 10 holds several important lessons for those who want a better understanding of the scriptures. But I would like for us to focus on just one of these lessons in this article.
When one reads this chapter you quickly come to realize a major shift in the direction of the preaching of the gospel that has occurred up to this time. Previously, all of the audiences of the apostles have been Jews. But this shift is not a result of a change in plans by God. It is not an alternate plan resulting from a failed attempt in converting the Jews.
Jesus Himself alluded to God’s plan for all mankind when He was still teaching and preaching on this earth. We can look back to John chapter 10 in His sermon about He being the “good shepherd." Picking up the reading in verse 14 we read, “I am the good shepherd and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring and they will hear My voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd. “ The other fold that Jesus was referring to are Gentiles, or non-Jews. He too is their good shepherd.
Old Testament prophecy also shows us that God had always intended to share His blessings of
salvation to all. In Isaiah 2:2 we read, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the
mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be
exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say,
"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will
teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. “
It is evident that even the apostles had a difficult time in understanding this by the fact that it took three attempts with a vision plus a visit by Cornelius’ servants (Acts 10:10-19). We see that Peter eventually understands that the gospel is for all mankind from his comments in verses 34-35. Additionally if we skip ahead in Acts, we can read in chapter 15 where Peter defends his preaching to Cornelius’ household as being part of God’s plan to bring the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 15:7).
There are other important lessons from this chapter, but this encounter with Cornelius has remained for centuries as an example of the opportunity we all have for salvation. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”