While reading the account of Cornelius in Acts 10 this morning, I was struck with the similarity between this story and the happenings in chapter 2. Now you might ask, what was so much the same? After all Peter's audience's were completely opposite; Jews vs. Roman heathens. However as I read, I began to notice some striking comparisons, actually quite revealing I believe.
I have touched on the account of Acts 2 in a previous post, so I will simply begin by showing the similarities and then some contrasts I have noticed. First of all, both the Jews and Cornelius are described as being devout. Furthermore the Centurion was a man who gave generously and prayed often. Even the Jews in Jerusalem were not credited with being given to prayer or alms.
To me the stark contrast appears in Peter’s presentation of the gospel and the respective audience's response to the same. In the 2nd chapter, Peter commands the Jews to repent, but in chapter 10 even while he is yet speaking, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those that heard the word. There is no mention of repentance or even the hint of it in this chapter, yet the Spirit was given to these Gentiles in such a way that they began to speak in tongues and glorify God.
Peter's command to the Jews was to repent and be baptized and then they would receive remission of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. But the gentiles received the Holy Spirit while Peter was still speaking. Is that not a striking difference? What was it that the Jews needed to repent of? While they were sinners as much as the Centurion, they had also rejected the claims of Christ beforehand, and were even guilty of His crucifixion. Therefore they needed to publicly acknowledge their complicity with Christ's death by openly repenting and confessing.
This is just a short comment, but I found it most interesting. Please let me know your thoughts and insights on these passages.
God's richest blessings.