Posts Tagged ‘cornelius’

Acts 10: Visions, Peter preaches to Gentiles, Richard inadvertently speaks fluent Finnish

This chapter in Acts really must make one re-think their Christianity for the good. It reminds me a little of Bruce Lee’s teaching of Jeet Kune Do which states, among many things, be flexible like water, discard what is not useful and be open to new things.

This chapter begins with a vision of Cornelius, a righteous Roman centurion (I do not know if he was the same one who said “Surely he was the son of god/Surely he was a righteous man” about Jesus on the cross). The passage says Connie (which I’ll call him for short) was devout, feared God and was generous with his donations and constantly prayed to God.

He saw a vision where an angel commanded him to send for Peter, and that Peter would tell him what next he needed to do with his life.

So, Connie sent for Peter who, while hungry and praying, received his own vision.

Pete saw a vessel coming down from heaven and on it was a spread of all kinds of unclean foods to eat. We suppose it contained pork, fish without scales (such as catfish, which I don’t care for), lobster and perhaps even a cheeseburger (Jews were instructed to not mix meat with dairy).

“God, you must be kidding!” Peter no doubt said. “This stuff is forbidden! I will not eateth it!”

This apparently happened three times (no doubt, a reference to the final chapter in John where Pete is asked thrice by Jesus if he [Peter] loves Jesus).

Pete was assured, yes, it was unclean, but God has cleansed, so shut your mouth (as far as arguing), open your mouth (for eating) and dig in.

Peter then learned three men sought him and that it was ok to go with them. They told him of Cornelius, the righteous centurion who was well respected among all the Jews, and how Connie wanted to hear Peter preach.

Peter left Joppa and went to Caesarea and, in his first order of business upon seeing Connie fall down to worship him, told Connie not to worship him since he (Peter) was just a man like him.

Peter told them how in Jewish law it was forbidden for Jews to have company with Gentiles, but that just as God had showed him it was acceptable to eat “unclean” food that had been purified, he was not to call any man common or unclean.

In other words, the Gospel is for everybody.

Pete then preached and in verse 34 announced that God is “no respecter of persons”, meaning that God is impartial and does not value people more because of their intellect, status or wealth. Instead, He accepts those who honor him and “[work] righteousness.” Peter then discusses Jesus’ earthly ministry, how He taught, preached, healed, died on the cross, arose from the dead and established the Great Commission.

Those there who were Jews who accepted Christ as their savior at that meeting, verse 45 tells us, were astonished by how many Gentiles came to accept Christ also. They began speaking in tongues, which I interpret to mean this: Peter’s words were understandable to those different nationalities there, and now those different nationalities could be understood by other nationalities also. The new Christians could converse with each other even though they did not speak the same language.

It would be like me, a native English speaker who speaks some Spanish, Russian and Mandarin Chinese, speaking with a Finnish gentleman named Markku Kaikkonen

Finland, where Markku hails from

and having this conversation:

Richard: Isn’t this great?!

Markku Kaikkonen: Yes, indeed it is!

R: I’m Richard, by the way. I’m from America. I grew up in Texas but now live in Michigan.

Mr. K: I’m Markku Kaikkonen, from Helsinki, Finland. It’s a privilege to meet you.

R: Likewise. Wow! You speak great English, Markku! I apologize for not knowing how to speak Finnish.

MK: Huh? I’m speaking Finnish!

R: How could you be speaking Finnish? I don’t speak Finnish and I can understand you just fine. You sound like you’re speaking English.

MK: I’m speaking Finnish, and so are you. In fact, I was just about to compliment you. I don’t encounter many Americans who can speak Finnish.

No, I’ve never seen this book, much less used it.

The new believers were then baptized and added to the church. Not surprisingly, they asked Pete to remain with them for a while. Perhaps to learn some Finnish.

Richard Zowie is a Christian writer, true to the above hypothetical conversation, really does not speak or understand Finnish. He does know that the Finns call their country “Suomi” instead of “Finland”. Post comments here or drop a line to