Kefa Returns to Yerushalayim to Brief the other Emissaries
In my last post, we learned that Cornelius, His Family, and Guests Are Baptized. In this post, we learn that Kefa Returns to Yerushalayim to Brief the other Emissaries.
1 The emissaries and the brothers throughout Y’hudah heard that the Goyim had received the word of God; 2 but when Kefa went up to Yerushalayim, the members of the Circumcision Faction criticized him, 3 saying, “You went into the homes of uncircumcised men and even ate with them!” (In case you missed it, we learned about the Circumcision Faction in my last post.)
4 In reply, Kefa began explaining in detail what had actually happened: 5 “I was in the city of Yafo, praying; and in a trance, I had a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it came down to me. 6 I looked inside and saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, crawling creatures, and wild birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Kefa, slaughter and eat!’ 8 I said, ‘No, sir! Absolutely not! Nothing unclean or treif has ever entered my mouth!’ 9 But the voice spoke again from heaven: ‘Stop treating as unclean what God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled back up into heaven.
Nothing unclean or treif has ever entered my mouth! (see Acts 10:12–14). Kefa’s hearers, the strict Circumcision Faction, “zealots for the Torah“ (see Acts 21:20), are no more Torah-observant than Kefa himself. God chose Kefa as His instrument to bring Yeshua to the Gentiles precisely because he was an observant Jew; in this way, all would know that God’s hand was in it. Had a less Torah-observant Jew seen the vision, it would have been no less of God, but observant Jews might have dismissed him as self-serving.
11 “At that very moment, three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was staying; 12 and the Spirit told me to have no misgivings about going back with them. These six brothers also came with me, and we went into the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Yafo and bring back Shim’ on, known as Kefa. 14 He has a message for you which will enable you and your whole household to be saved.’ 15 “But I had hardly begun speaking when the Ruach HaKodesh fell on them, just as on us at the beginning! 16 And I remembered that the Lord had said, ‘Yochanan used to immerse people in the water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach HaKodesh.’ 17 Therefore, if God gave them the same gift as he gave us after we had come to put our trust in the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who was I to stand in God’s way?” 18 On hearing these things, they stopped objecting and began to praise God, saying, “This means that God has enabled the Goyim as well to do t’shuvah (repentance) and have life!” ~ Acts 11:1-18
The observant Jews in the Messianic Community were amazed that Gentiles could become part of God’s people, part of the Messiah’s Body, without first becoming Jews. To oppose something that so clearly had a divine stamp of approval on it would oppose God. Kefa’s explanation caused the other Jewish Believers to give God glory for granting repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles.
Today, the situation is precisely the opposite: many Gentile Believers are amazed at the movement of Messianic Jews that claims Jews can accept the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, without taking on the lifestyle of Gentiles. The more things change, the more they stay the same!
In my next post, we learn that Kefa gets caught up in Herod Agrippa I’s Persecution of the Saints.