Understanding Acts | Caesarea’s Surprise | Acts 10.23-29 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | Nov 30, 2022

“The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” 27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” Acts 10.23-29

The city of Caesarea has a long history. If you visit Israel, you will find the ruins of Caesarea on the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea. You will see an ancient hippodrome (a stadium for riding horses or chariot racing), an Roman amphitheater, historic shipping ports and learn about the history of this place built before the birth of Christ and named after a former ruler of the Roman Empire, August Caesar. It is truly fascinating.

Caesarea was not a Jewish settlement. It was Roman and before that, under Persian rule, was developed by the Phoenicians. Peter, a Jew, arriving to the town was unthinkable. He even says so as he approached the group of friends and family invited by Cornelius saying, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile.” Imagine if Peter had stopped there? Imagine if Peter had upheld the unhelpful demands of the Jewish Law and refrained from making the journey.

But Peter doesn’t refrain, he enters the house of Cornelius, and says to the gathered assembly, “God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.” And proceeds to meet with them, learn about the dream of Cornelius, and eventually shares the Gospel of Christ with the first gentile. And from there, the Gospel became available to the masses. Representatives from three different continents were most likely in Caesarea. Peter’s proclamation was Caesarea‘s surprise. That God would offer the gift of his Son not only to the Jews but for the whole world was unthinkable.

As I said, I’ve been to Jerusalem and still feel the separation from the Jews with the Gentiles. I’m sure some of it is for self-preservation but for the most, it does seem a bit exclusionary. But this is not the attitude of the God we serve. All may come to the foot of the Cross. All may call upon the name of Jesus and be saved. All may find hope and release in the arms of a loving and welcoming Savior.

Regardless of your background, culture, race, history or sin, you are welcomed by Jesus. Now he may not allow you to remain in your sin, he will shape, bend, mold and sculpt your character, but it’s worth the transformation.

Have you been surprised by grace? Have you found God welcoming you in spite of your struggles? Come to the cross. Find hope in Jesus and receive his abundant love for you.

“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me and making me your own. Thank you for helping me in my struggles, for reaching out to all people, not just the Jews, but to the Gentiles also. To each of us who are in need of salvation, hope and grace. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your loving kindness. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen