They Became Silent

Written by Frank Jamerson.

With the conversion of Gentiles, both religious and cultural differences had to be overcome. Jewish believers in Jerusalem were not happy with Peter because he had gone to and eaten with Gentiles, but they listened to his explanation.

Peter recounted his vision of the sheet let down from heaven with four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things and birds on it and God’s charge for him to kill and eat. Then the Holy Spirit told him to go with the men from Cornelius “doubting nothing,” or making no distinction (Acts 11:12). He reported that Cornelius was told to “Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (vs. 13,14).

The third evidence he gave for his action with the Gentiles was the fact that they received “the same gift” that the apostles had received and they spoke with tongues. Peter said this reminded him of the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 11:16). This convinced the believers in Jerusalem and “they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (v. 18).

The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the household of Cornelius is learned from the use Peter made of it when he was challenged by the Jews in Jerusalem. It convinced him and the six brethren with him that they could not withstand God by refusing to accept those whom God obviously was accepting (v. 17). The Gentiles were saved by words (Acts 11:14), by faith (Acts 15:7-9) and by being baptized “in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). Baptism in the name of the Lord is in water (Acts 10:47) and for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). There is no way that Peter would have gone to the Gentiles of his own will and invented this story to justify his action!

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