One People of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Passage: Acts 10:1–11:18
“One People of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ”
Big Picture: Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles are one people. Both have the Spirit. The Law Covenant of Moses is obsolete, fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. The vision of Cornelius (10:1-8)
2. The vision of Peter (10:9-16)
3. The messengers of Cornelius meet Peter (10:17-23b)
4. The encounter of Peter and Cornelius (10:23c-33)
5. Peter’s sermon (10:34-43)
6. The conversion of the first gentiles (10:44-48)
7. Peter’s justification in Jerusalem of his acceptance of Gentile believers: God gave them the same gift of the Spirit (11:1-18)
Old Testament Background to Peter’s Vision: The Old Covenant food laws expressed an understanding of Israel’s special status as the elect, holy people of God. The division into clean, edible foods and unclean, inedible foods correspond to the division between holy Israel and the Gentile world (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy. 7:7-8; 14:2ff).
Summary of Old Testament Food Regulations (Leviticus 11)
· Split-hoofed, cud-chewing land animals (e. g., sheep and cattle) may be eaten. Other mammals are unclean (e. g., pigs and camels) and may not be eaten (vv. 2–8).
· Only fish with fins and scales may be eaten (vv. 9–12).
· Certain named birds (probably birds of prey) may not be eaten (vv. 13–19).
· Flying insects may not be eaten, but hopping insects are edible (vv. 20–23).
· Touching the carcass of an unclean animal makes a person unclean. They must wash themselves (vv. 24–28).
· Other “swarming” animals, such as mice and lizards, are also unclean. If they are found dead inside a vessel, the vessel becomes unclean and must be destroyed or purified (vv. 29–43).
· Clean animals that die of natural causes become unclean, unfit to eat and a source of pollution (vv. 39–40)
· The Israelites reflect the holiness of God, who brought them out of Egypt, by obeying these divine regulations and distinguishing between unclean and clean creatures (11:44–47).