Peter and Cornelius ~ Acts 10

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Objectives:

  • To explain that God shows no partiality; all people are to hear the gospel and are accepted by Him through Jesus Christ
  • To list events of the meeting of Peter and Cornelius
  • To share the gospel

Acts 10Materials: Inductive Bible Study Form, Bible, Pictures of people who need to hear the gospel. {I used information from The Seed Company, which is a nonprofit that seeks to translate the Bible into heart languages. You can watch videos as well.}

Time Needed: 30-45 minutes

Geography: Israel; Joppa, Caesarea

Background: Persecution of the early church had begun with the death of Stephen. And so the Christians fled from Jerusalem. Saul, the great persecutor, has been converted and accepted by the leaders of the new church movement, but gentiles were still not seen as people who needed Jesus.

Main Events of Acts 10:

This is a really neat story because we get to see what God is doing in two different places at the same time.

{Chapter 10 is a long chapter PACKED with many details. It does not need fancy story-telling tips because the verses are rich enough in themselves. I suggest reading the chapter from the Bible using the NASB or ESV versions and answering these questions. But be sure to read with enthusiasm and wonder! Hand motions are good as well.}

  • What do we learn about Cornelius?
    (He lived in Caesarea, a centurion of the Italian Regiment, a devout man, he and his household feared God, he was generous, prayed to God always.)
  • What happened in Cornelius’ dream (or vision)?
    (An angel came and said his prayers and alms had come up for a memorial before God, he was to send men to Joppa to find Simon Peter who was lodging with Simon the Tanner by the sea, Peter would tell Cornelius what to do.)
  • How did Cornelius respond to his dream?
    (He called two servants and a devout soldier, explained everything to them and sent them to Joppa. This would have been a two days trip.)
Acts 10

Aqueduct in Caesarea; Photo courtesy of Biblewalks.com

*****MEANWHILE…..in Joppa……

  • Where was Peter and what happened?
    (He was staying with Simon the Tanner and he was on the roof waiting for lunch. He fell into a trance.)
  • What did Peter see?
    (A sheet came down from heaven and it was filled with four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds, a voice told Peter to rise, kill, and eat, Peter refused saying he had never eaten anything unclean.)
  • What did the voice say after Peter respectfully said, “No!”?
    (What God has cleansed you must not call common.)
  • How many times did this vision take place?
    (3 times, which means great emphasis from God, or perhaps it reflects Peter’s denial of Jesus before the cross.)

****MEANWHILE……downstairs……

  • Who stood before the gate?
    (The men sent by Cornelius.)
  • What was Peter doing when the Spirit spoke to him?
    (Thinking about the vision.)
  • What did the Spirit say to Peter?
    (Three men are looking for you, go down to them, go with them, doubt nothing, I have sent them.)

****The MEETING……

  • Did Peter obey God?
    (Yes!)
  • How?
    (He asked the men what they needed, housed them for the night and then left with them in the morning.)
  • What had Cornelius done while waiting?
    (He had called together his relatives and close friends.)
  • What did Cornelius do when he met Peter?
    (He fell at Peter’s feet and started to worship him.)
  • How did Peter react to Cornelius?
    (He lifted Cornelius up and told him he was just a man. They talked with each other and entered the house.)
  • What did Peter say was unlawful?
    (It was unlawful for a Jewish man to visit with, or go to, a man of another nationality.)
  • But what did God say?
    (God said that Peter should not call any man common or unclean.)
  • What truth did Peter learn?
    (God shows no partiality. Whoever fears God and works righteousness is accepted by Him.)
  • How does Peter preach the gospel?
    (He told the people that Jesus was Lord of all, that he had ben anointed by the Holy Spirit, he did good things and healings, Jesus died on a tree, God raised him from the dead after three days, Jesus was seen publicly but not to all people, and that whoever believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins.)
  • What happened while Peter was speaking?
    (The Holy Spirit fell upon everyone who heard.)
  • Why were the people who came with Peter astonished?
    (Because the Holy Spirit had been given to Gentiles. There were six people who had traveled with Peter from Joppa along with Cornelius’ men. )
  • How did they know the Gentiles had been given the Holy Spirit?
    (The people had begun to speak in tongues and magnify God.)
  • What did Peter then have the gentiles do?
    (Be baptized in the name of the Lord.)

Application of Acts 10:

{Show the pictures of people from other nations.}

Peter learned that all people, Jews and Gentiles, need to hear about Jesus Christ. God shows no partiality, but people sure do. The words of Peter revolutionized culture in that day. For generations Jews had nothing to do with gentiles. God was teaching His people that He considers ALL people acceptable to Him through Jesus.

The missionary Paul helps us to understand this better when he wrote to the Galatians: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (3:28)

Christianity is an equalizer. All people are equal and acceptable in God’s eyes through Jesus. Many people live with an attitude that Christians are better than others, or it isn’t worth taking the time to tell those people about Jesus. These are lies.

Many unbelievers think that all Christians are “out to get” those who do not believe as they do. Christians must be SURE that they have the heart of God. ALL people matter. ALL people need to hear about Jesus, and ALL Christians are told to spread the gospel.

Modification for Older Children:

Look at verses 34-43. Have the children identify the main facts of the gospel. Then have them write the gospel on paper in their own words. Have the group split into partners and read their gospel presentation to each other.

Other Resources for Acts 10:

Sunday School Lesson

Video: Biblical Storytelling {I am so excited to find this!! This is VERY similar to how I tell stories!}

Acts 10 lesson with coloring page

Wheaton Bible Lesson on Acts 10

Thoughts? Questions? Please leave a comment below.

** Clip art used by permission from http://www.christiancliparts.net


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