News travels quickly. The news of the Holy Spirit’s coming on the Gentiles reaches Jerusalem before Peter does. The church there is horrified by reports of Peter mixing with Gentiles (v. 3).
About David Cook
David Cook was Principal of the Sydney Missionary and Bible College for 26 years. He is an accomplished writer and has authored Bible commentaries, books on the Minor Prophets, and several Bible study guides.
Entries by David Cook
God is the great evangelist, who often sets up seemingly coincidental meetings such as that between Philip and the Ethiopian on the Gaza Road. Now He is about to bring Peter and Cornelius together in a ground breaking, evangelistic encounter.
Again Luke reminds us that God is the sovereign and active evangelist. He is the expansive God, dealing with a people of limited vision—in this case Peter, the foremost apostle to the Jews.
The book of Acts has had many names throughout its life—for example, “The Deeds of the Apostles”, “The Acts of All the Apostles”, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”, and “What Jesus Continued to Do”. Some of these titles seek to express the truth that in the Gospels are the records of what Jesus did in His life on earth, while in Acts we have the record of what Jesus continues to do through His Spirit, as He sits at God’s right hand.
Saul baffles the Jews in Damascus. They expect him to defend Judaism against the new movement, but now he is preaching that Jesus is the Son of God (v. 20) and proving that Jesus is the Christ (v. 22). Luke tells of their reaction, they are astonished (v. 21) and baffled (v. 22). Meanwhile, Saul grows more and more powerful. He cannot be beaten in argument and so the Jews plan to kill him instead (v. 23). Here is another example of unreasonable and unreasoning blind belligerence.
Ananias is rightfully cautious about his vision (v. 10). The Lord is specific about the direction He gives (v. 11). He has wonderfully prepared the way for Ananias (v. 12).
Here is a major turning point in Acts and in the history of the church. It is the conversion of Paul, which Luke repeats in his narrative for emphasis (see Acts 22:6–21; 26:12–18).
So far we have read of large numbers of people coming to repentance and faith in Jesus (see Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 6:7). Now we meet just one man, who highlights God’s interest in each and every person.
Today’s passage has been the source of much controversy in the church. Peter and John are sent by the apostles to Samaria, they lay hands on the disciples who have previously been baptised in Jesus’ name (v. 16), and they receive the Holy Spirit (v. 17). Whose name should they have been baptised with in order to receive this Holy Spirit? It is clear they were true believers. So why had they not received the Holy Spirit at the time of their repentance, as did the 3,000 in Acts 2 and others elsewhere?.
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