Chapter 11 – Book of Acts
A quick read through chapter 11 concludes that it is a narrated version of what actually happened in chapter 10. We began our previous article per chapter 10 noting that there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of the band called the Italian band.
Cornelius is the first Gentile recorded or mentioned by name in the bible to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He was already a devout man of God but did not know about Jesus. Chapter 11 begins by “some of the circumcised believers [of The Way] challenged
Peter because he met with and socialized via his witness and teachings with a Gentile. A major part of the issue and prejudice here is that the Israelites, especially those of the Tribe of Judah and living in Jerusalem at this time, felt themselves as the only ones in God’s chosen. They are His chosen but not his only people. The confused and ignorant Jewish Christians that confronted Peter as soon as he returned to Jerusalem after teaching Cornelius and his family about Jesus still had arrogance to deal with per Christ taking the sin of the world to the cross; not just that of Israel.
More than the traditional Judaism issues in conflict with Peter’s witnessing to Gentiles but it was a violation of traditional Jewish customs. We still see that today in cross-denominationalism. People want to bring their “customs” into play if and when they get a new pastor or they go to another church. This is the very essence of chapter 11. Traditional customs have nothing to do with any of the salvation passages in the entire Bible. They are not part of faith, grace, believing, accepting Christ, or salvation.
Peter goes back to his Joppa incident and the animals he called unclean in chapter 10. He got the point that Christ is not just for the Jews who wish to accept him as the true Messiah. He came “that all may be saved” (I Timothy 2:4). He recaps the entire incident to those now in Jerusalem. Peter points out to his critics…
Acts 11:17 “Forasmuch then as God gave them the [Holy Spirit] as [He did] unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?”
Acts 11:18 is a good conclusion to his issue with those who confronted him upon his return to Jerusalem:
Acts 11:18 “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying; Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
We might equate this with modern times, if it is even possible today, for believers to understand the building they attend worship and praise services is NOT THE CHURCH. There is nothing sacred about the building or the artifacts, utensils, and carpeting inside the building that is sacred. To think so takes us back to the Judeans hiding behind their temple.