Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 27, 2013

31. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 5 – Dorcas & Cornelius

Peter raises Dorcas from the dead

Peter raises Dorcas from the dead

Our virtual hike through Galilee has reached the ruins of Capernaum, the home base for Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 4:13).

The Gospels mention Capernaum 16 times, and Matthew calls Capernaum Jesus’ “own city” (Matthew 9:1; Mark 2:1). It was the site for much of His teaching and many of His miracles.

This is the fifth of a series of blog posts on Capernaum’s most famous homeowner, the Apostle Peter (Mark 1:21,29), leader of the disciples. The first post introduced Peter and reviewed the miracles of Jesus with which Peter was personally involved. The second one used Peter’s own words and works from the Gospels to illustrate his leadership. The third and fourth posts looked at Peter’s courageous leadership and bold witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth based on Peter’s words and works recorded in Acts. This post continues with more examples of Peter’s leadership from the book of Acts.

  1. Peter preached throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. At Lydda Peter healed Aeneas, paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise and make your bed.” Immediately he rose. All the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw his restored vigor and as a result turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:31-35)
  2. In Joppa, Peter raised Dorcas from the dead. When Dorcas (Tabitha) died, the disciples sent to Lydda for Peter. Peter prayed and said to the body, “Tabitha, arise.” Peter gave her his hand and raised her up alive. The news of this miracle spread throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Peter was the first apostle to raise someone from the dead! (Acts 9:36-43)
    These miracles by Peter effectively served the purpose for which they were intended. They validated the astonishing message that Peter and the apostles were preaching about Jesus, just as the miracles of Jesus testified to the truth of His words (John 5:36). Today the miracles serve the same purpose for those who believe the historical accounts recorded in the Gospels and Acts.
  3. Peter's Dream

    Peter’s Dream

  4. Peter officially opened the new Christian church to Gentiles
    by admitting Cornelius of Caesarea.
    (Acts 10:1-48; Acts 15:7-9)
    An angel from God instructed Cornelius, a God-fearing centurion, to send to Joppa for Simon Peter. While the messengers were on the way, God prepared Peter for the coming invitation. Peter, a Jew, was to go the the home of Cornelius, a Gentile. According to Jewish tradition, such visits were unlawful for Jews. Associations with Gentiles were forbidden because they were not “God’s chosen people.” (Acts 10:28)

    Peter saw a vision of a sheet descending from heaven with all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice commanded, “Arise, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter refused, saying he had “never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” The voice answered, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.

    Moses had given dietary regulations to the Israelites. They were allowed to eat only “clean” animals. “Unclean” animals were forbidden. These included the camel, badger, rabbit, and pig. Water creatures without scales or fins were unclean. Also unclean were many flying creatures, primarily scavengers and birds of prey, such as the eagle, hawk, vulture, owl, raven, falcon, sea gull, stork, and bat (Leviticus 11). Peter had a life-long, deep-seated abhorrence to eating these animals, yet God instructed him to “kill and eat” in order to teach him a bigger truth about Gentiles.

    Sheet of animals from Peter's dream

    Peter dreamed of a sheet of animals

    Peter traveled about 30 miles from Joppa to Caesarea, a 2-day journey. He found many people assembled with Cornelius, waiting to hear from him. Peter said, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean…I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him.” Peter went on to testify of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. While he was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon the listeners, and they spoke in tongues, praising God. All the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed that Gentiles had been given the Holy Spirit. Peter ordered them all baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Peter thus ushered a large contingent of Gentiles into the church.

    Clearly racial and ethnic tensions seethed in the first century, just as they do today. God’s lesson for Peter and the Jewish believers was that such factors are irrelevant. As Peter explained, “In every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him.

    Cornelius was a man of irreproachable character. Luke describes him as “a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually.” The messengers sent to Peter said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.” Cornelius prostrated himself before Peter and said, “Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” (Acts 10:2, 22, 25, 33)

    A Roman centurion of the Italian cohort was of much higher station than a Jewish fisherman. Yet Cornelius humbled himself to learn from Peter. Cornelius also demonstrated that he was no respecter of persons.

  5. When Peter returned to Jerusalem, some criticized his having met and dined with Gentiles. Peter defended his conduct with an orderly explanation of his vision in Joppa, his visit to Cornelius, and the Holy Spirit coming upon those who heard him. Peter concluded, “If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When Peter’s challengers heard this, they calmed down saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:1-18)

Questions to Ponder:
(Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below.)

  1. The Jews were surprised that God granted Gentiles repentance. Have you ever been surprised at whom God chose for His kingdom?
  2. Do you think anybody was surprised to learn that you had been picked?
  3. Does the character of your life give evidence that you have received the Holy Spirit?
  4. Will anyone be surprised to see you in heaven?
  5. Can you listen to Biblical truth from someone of a different socio-economic class? From someone of a different skin color or a different culture?

The next blog post will continue with more examples of Peter’s leadership from Acts.

Read the prequels in this sub-series on the life and work of Simon Peter of Capernaum:
27. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 1
28. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 2
29. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 3 – Heals lame man (with videos)
30. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 4 – Ananias & Sapphira (with videos)

Read the sequel:
32. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 6 – Escape from Prison

Soli Deo Gloria.

The Hike the Bible series is currently covering points of interest along two hiking trails through Galilee, the 40-mile Jesus Trail and the 39-mile Gospel Trail. These two trails re-create possible routes Jesus likely traversed during His sojourns in Galilee.

This is the thirty-first installment in the Hike the Bible series reviewing major hiking trails in the Lands of the Bible and commenting on Biblical sites along those trails and associated events and personages.
Read the prequels:
1. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail (with video)
2. Hike the Bible – Gospel Trail (with video)
3. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail vs. Gospel Trail
4. Hike the Bible – Nazareth
5. Hike the Bible – Zippori
6. Hike the Bible – Mash’had
7. Hike the Bible – Cana (with video)
8. Hike the Bible – Roman Road
9. Hike the Bible – Via Maris
10. Hike the Bible – Horns of Hattin
11. Hike the Bible – Sermon on the Mount
12. Hike the Bible – Arbel Cliffs
13. Hike the Bible – Magdala (with video)
14. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene
15. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene, Lady or Tramp?
16. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene & the Resurrection
17. Hike the Bible – Sea of Galilee
18. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee
19. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 2
20. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 3
21. Hike the Bible – Jesus Boat
Palestine Park
22. Hike the Bible – Why Capernaum?
23. Hike the Bible – Capernaum Archaeology
24. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum
25. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 2
26. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 3
27. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 1
28. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 2
29. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 3 – Heals lame man (with videos)
30. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 4 – Ananias & Sapphira (with videos)

Read the sequel:
32. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 6 – Escape from Prison

Bible-Science Guy logo

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday February 27, 2013 A.D.

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

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