The Gospel Message: Peter’s Address – Acts 10:34-43


The gospel message is all about Jesus and what He did and is going to do.  Peter summarized this in Acts 10:37-41.  The commission to go and preach was given by Jesus in Acts 1 and the authority and power to preach was given in Acts 2.  The revelation for mission was given in Acts 10 that laid the foundation for the selection of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:2 where the Holy Spirit instructed, after they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”  Paul later became the face of missions to the Gentile world.  The gospel must be grounded in the Bible and consist of the message of Jesus’ life, work, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return.  Those who have first received the Gospel Message must carry out this message, and the Church is the organism that has been authorized to deliver this message.  The work of the Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus in John 16:6-11, is clearly at work in the story of Peter and Cornelius.   Jesus said But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”  The Holy Spirit was going to convict the world, in this case Cornelius.  In the case of Peter, the Spirit’s ministry of guidance and revelation of truth was demonstrated. Finally, the Spirit wanted Peter to present Jesus to Cornelius. This ministry of representation, according to John, is demonstrated through us who represent Christ here on earth.

We understand that the gospel message is sent to the world, not just to one group of people.   Matthew 28:20 said, “go into all the world” and in Acts 1 it gave more detail as to the meaning of the world: “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Again we see the Holy Spirit taking the lead in first equipping the messengers before they were sent.  Those in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost were anointed by the Holy Spirit and sent to bring the Gospel message.  They sometimes struggled with the fact that many were accepting this message, but that did not stop the spread of the Gospel.  Peter was one who struggled with seeing the world outside of Jerusalem and the Jewish context.

The Holy Spirit however, gave him a lesson; this lesson was that God is impartial and all need the Gospel.  As the Holy Spirit taught Peter, we need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts on this matter as stated in Acts 10:15, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  We are to be willing to take the gospel message to the world, and have no exception.  Once Peter understood the message, he was able to go into Cornelius’ home and present the gospel and fellowshipped.  This was a remarkable accomplishment, a Jew not only going into a Gentile’s home, but he was staying for a while and eating with them.  The food was not declared clean by Mosaic Law but by the fulfillment of the Laws through Jesus Christ.  He was truly a missionary.  A missionary is simply a messenger, bringing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.  As we endeavor to bring the gospel and assume the mantle of a missionary, there must be an understanding of contextualization of the gospel, wherein the message does not change, but the application of the message in the local context will vary.  This is true of Paul in Acts 17 when he spoke to the Athenians about their monument to the unknown God.  Paul used their context and presented the Gospel.  In the July 2010 Christianity Today issue in the article, “Love where you live”, J. R. Kerr said, “A city gets transformed when neighborhoods marked by the gospel are redeemed.  To do that, we need to stay 20 or 30 years.”[1]  This missionary enterprise is an investment, or a life commitment.


[1] Collin Hasen, “Love Where You Live” Christianity Today, July 2010, 36.

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