As the early church Christians move out with the news of the Gospel, they faced serious limitations in their engagement. Were they supposed to reach mainly Jews, or was the good new of Jesus Christ also meant for Gentiles? In Acts 10 faces this issue head on. And everything changed, in both the locus and focus of the mission of the Church.
The passage tells the story of the conversion of a Roman centurion, Cornelius, and his family. But it also represents the turn-around which took place in the mind and heart of Peter, who grasps that God does indeed desire the conversion and transformation of the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
In chapter 11 of Acts where Peter gives an account of what happened and the early church leaders in Jerusalem are also challenged and changed by what has taken place.
In this process the influence of visions/dreams was decisive and that challenge us as to whether we are open to such interventions ourselves.
Reading: Acts 10: 1 – 23
Questions to think about:
- Acts 10 begins with an impressive picture of a Roman centurion – what was he like, what did he lack, and what did he need to learn? (see Acts 11:13, 14).
- The vision that Peter saw (Acts 10:9 ff) and his encounter with Cornelius and his family, changed the focus and the locus of the mission of the Christian church in those early days. What were the main changes this brought about in the work of the Church in those days?
- Should dreams and visions figure in our search both to know and to do the will of God in our times?