Turning Point: It’s Not About Peter
by Charles Cameron
Published on November 9, 2022
Categories: Spiritual Growth

Dear Reader, This is Part 8 and the final post in our series: God is calling us to love Jesus (The Life of Peter). You will find the previous posts here: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6][7]

Turning Point! It’s Not About Peter!

By Charles Cameron

We consider Acts 10 in the breadth of its teaching rather than focusing too narrowly on what it tells us about Peter.

It will be helpful to think of Acts 10 as a turning-point.

It may be viewed as a turning-point for (a) individuals; (b) nations; (c) generations.

(a) The individuals – Peter and Cornelius

For both, there is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ element.

(i) Peter – ‘before’: an evangelist to the Jews, but not yet an evangelist to the Gentiles

He had seen God at work, but he was yet to see God, even more mightily at work.

‘after’: an evangelist to the Gentiles also. He never quite became ‘the apostle to the Gentiles’ that Paul became. Nevertheless, there was, for Peter, a turning-point, a broadening of his outlook, a widening of his ministry.

(ii) Cornelius: ‘before’ – a good man; ‘after’ – a saved man

The turning-point – conversion. Even good men need to be saved.

(b) nations – Jews and Gentiles

(i) ‘before’: Jews – the people of god; Gentiles – heathen

(ii) ‘after’ – “but also the Greek” (Romans 1:16): the Gospel going to Rome (Acts 28)

(c) generations – The church and the world

This was not only a turning-point for the Jews and the Gentiles of that generation. There is a message for every generation. Acts 10 can be a turning-point for us today – turning beyond the church, turning toward the world.

These are three ways of reading Acts 10 – changes in individuals; changes in the history of nations; changes in us, today.

We come now to the conclusion of the story told, in the Gospels and Acts, about Peter. This is not, however, the complete New Testament picture of Peter. To complete the picture, we need the letters, written by Peter.

In Acts 12:5, we read about Peter in prison. In Acts 12:7, we read about him being set free.

This is Peter in the place of restriction and the place of freedom.

When we read Acts 12:17 – “Then he departed and went to another place, we may ask, “Where did he go? What became of Peter?

This thought of Peter, moving out of the place of restriction and into the place of freedom may be a helpful way of introducing the third New Testament phase of Peter’s story – his letters.

In John 14:12, we have the promise of “greater works.” Jesus had been restricted to one place and time. Through His people, the Gospel would go to every nation and every generation. The Gospel going to the Gentiles, beginning with the story of Peter and Cornelius, was part of the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise concerning “greater works.”

This idea of “greater works” can be applied to the third phase of Peter’s story.

The first two phases tell us about the things done by Peter during his lifetime. The third, his letters, present us with Peter’s voice, speaking to the church and the world in every nation and every generation.

“He died, but through his faith he is still speaking” (Hebrews 11:4). These words were written about Abel. They can also be applied to Peter.

“Then Peter departed and went to another place” (Acts 12:17). Scripture speaks about “a broad place where there is no cramping” (Job 36:16). Peter went to “a broad place.” The scope of his ministry was extended. We do not say, “That’s the end of Peter’s ministry.” We read on. We come to his letters. We say, “This is an extension of his ministry, This is Peter, speaking to every nation and every generation, to everyone who cares to read the Bible in whatever language, in whatever version.

In 1 Peter, we learn about the great blessings we have received in Christ (1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 Peter 2:9-10), how we are to live as Christians (1 Peter 2:11-12; 1 Peter 4:7-11) and the trials we will face as Christians (1 Peter 4:12-14; 1 Peter 5:8-11). In 2 Peter, we learn about true knowledge of God (2 Peter 1:3-5; 1 Peter 1:20-21), warnings against false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-3) and the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:8-13).

In 2 Peter 3:18, we have Peter’s final words to us –  “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” This is the “broad place” into which God is leading us.

Charles Cameron, better known as Charlie to his friends, lives in Scotland and is a member of the Church of Scotland. He owns several Christian blogs found at the following links:

Old Testament     New Testament

 

Feature Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

1 Comment

  1. Charlie Cameron

    Thanks, Andy, for reblogging this post. God bless you.

    Reply

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