Summary Acts 11:1-18:
Peter’s actions shocked the Jewish community and he was questioned when he went to Jerusalem. Peter retold the story of his meeting with the Centurion, explaining who was he to oppose God who blessed these Gentiles with the Holy Spirit. (Great explanation by the way!).
Finally, it began to dawn on the Jewish leaders that God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life and given everyone the gift of Heaven.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 7, Day 4: Acts 11:1-18
9) Because this changed thousands of years of Jewish tradition. We’d all ask the same questions.
My answer to this question back in 2012:
For centuries God’s chosen people has been only Jewish. God himself has said do not marry foreigners or associate with them. Jews were accustomed to only thinking God’s words were for them (which it was–they were the chosen ones). For only 3 short years, Jesus taught otherwise and then overnight, with his death, everyone was made equal and included in God’s kingdom.
This was a MAJOR paradigm shift. This could be akin to the Equal Rights Movement in the US. When people grow up with a culture and a thought so ingrained in their mind it takes a while for it to change–usually a long while.
So for the Jews to accept the Gentiles would be a process. We are human after all. Most can’t just flip a switch and get rid of past prejudices that have been ingrained in us since childhood.
10) Peter recounted exactly what happened.
11) Personal Question. My answer: It’s okay to follow God even when you don’t fully understand. In time, God will reveal all to you. Unsure what “situation” I’m in, but it encourages me to just listen and be open to God at all times.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 7, Day 4: Acts 11:1-18
I liked how once Peter explained it all to the Jews, they praised God for accepting the Gentiles into eternal life. This would be rare to see in this day and time.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 7, Day 4: Acts 11:1-18
This reaction of the Christian Jews shows how significant the change was that God initiated in Acts 10. Gentiles no longer had to become Jewish to be saved, and they were equal to the Jews.
When we see what the reaction of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, we can see how wise it was of Peter to take six witnesses with him to Caesarea and his meeting with Cornelius (Acts 10:23 and 11:12).
God emphasized the importance of these events by repeating the story.
The sheet could represent the church, having both “kosher” (Jews) and “unkosher” (Gentiles) on it, with no distinction or dividing line between the two (Ephesians 2:11-18).
If it was permitted for an angel of God to go into Cornelius’ house, it must be permitted for Peter also.
The Holy Spirit was God’s stamp of approval was on this work towards the Gentiles.
These Christians would see this was all in accord with the Scriptures. They had both the word of the Lord Jesus, recorded in Mark 1:8, and the Old Testament promises that Gentiles would come to the Lord through the Messiah (in passages such as Isaiah 49:6).
Activity alone isn’t enough to validate a work of God. It must also be in line with God’s Word. This work among the Gentiles passed both tests.
Jewish People’s Acceptance of Gentiles
The Jewish believers in Jerusalem (those of the circumcision, Acts 11:2) first reacted with a stunned silence. But then they glorified God, because they saw He was now at work among the Gentiles.
This is a powerful passage, demonstrating that the hearts of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were soft enough to be guided and corrected by God. It is a glorious thing when God’s people will allow their prejudices and traditions to be overcome by God’s Word and God’s work.
The church in Jerusalem embraced these Gentile believers at first, but it would be a long time until all the objections of those of the circumcision were answered. This acceptance is only temporary, as prejudice will continue for centuries.