The Book of Acts is the historical account of the early church. Beginning right after the resurrection of Jesus, the book’s author, Luke traces the growth of the early church. The first few chapters the book concentrate on the Apostles, mainly Peter & John. Then we see some additional characters enter the picture, highlighted by the first martyr of the church, Steven. Philip (not the Apostle), Barnabas and a few others are listed. There is the conversion of Saul, later called Paul, in Acts 9 who dominates the narrative for the rest of the book.
But there is one entire chapter devoted to Peter and it’s an eye opener. It is Acts chapter 10.
To get the complete picture of what happens in Acts 10, you need to read the last 12 verses of Acts 9. Peter, has a phenomenal time of ministry in Lydda and later in Joppa. First he heals a guy who has been paralyzed for 8 years. Because of that healing, “all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:35).
This is followed by an even more remarkable event in Joppa. 2 followers of Jesus hear Peter is in Lydda and make a bee-line to him “imploring” him to Joppa because a woman named Dorcas had died. This lady was deeply loved by many and Luke describes her as being a woman “full of good works and charitable deeds.”
Peter goes there finding burial preparations have begun (vs 37). Peter tells people to leave the room and prays (vs 40). Then an event we can only imagine happens, the dead woman, Dorcas, is raised form the dead! Words just can’t describe this event dramatically enough.
Right on the heels of all these great ministry victories, Acts 10 takes place. This is the chapter where God reveals to Peter how salvation and ministry is not just a Jewish thing, but something everyone – even gentiles – can experience. God shows this to him in a vision and with a visitor. This visitor is a gentile, a Roman centurion, basically an enemy of the Jews, but he is described as being a “devout man and one who feared God.”
This gentile Roman centurion was used by God to teach the Apostle Peter a lesson! Peter, who just oversaw the healing of a paralyzed guy and raised a woman from the dead, is being taught a lesson through the obedience of the gentile Roman military officer!
Here’s the thought I have when looking over the events of chapters 9 and 10.
All of us can learn something.
Even if you’ve been walking with the LORD for decades.
Even if you’ve performed some great work for God.
Even if hundreds or thousands listen to your words every week.
Even if you know your Bible backwards and forwards.
Even if you’ve raised someone from the dead.
All of us can learn something. God always wants to reveal Himself to us. Something about His character or His Word or the hurting people around us. We can’t ever get arrogant and think we’ve arrived.
God always has something He wants to teach us.
But I notice something else in verse 9 of Acts 10. Peter was praying. While it isn’t specifically mentioned, I think he was alone. We are told he went up on the housetop to pray. Was he trying to get away from the household business and distractions or did he just like praying outside? Who knows, but to me I think this indicates he was alone and he was intentional about praying.
God wants to teach us but these lessons must often begin with prayer, intentional prayer where we get away from distractions and spend time with Him. Even if we’ve just participated in some great work of ministry, God has other lessons for us to learn.
Take some time and pray. Seek Him and see if he doesn’t teach you something.
Blessings my friend
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