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Bible Trek

Peter in Joppa | Bible Trek – Caesarea Series - 02

The seaport region of Joppa is the location where Peter prayed for Tabitha, who had recently become ill and died. Peter’s prayer restored her to life, and many local people came to faith in Jesus. Peter stayed in Joppa at the house of Simon the Tanner. On the rooftop of the house, Peter received a vision (Acts 10) that would ignite the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. This dramatic moment was the start of Christianity going global.

Quick read

Acts 10.9–15

In a nutshell

I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God's power to save all who believe, first the Jews and also the Gentiles. Romans 1.16

Since the days of Moses, Jewish people had been taught to treat foreigners well. On the other hand, they were told to keep away from pagan religion and practice.

Allegiance to God included keeping purity laws, which involved avoiding certain types of food. During a visit to the busy harbour town of Joppa, today known as Jaffa, the apostle Peter had a vision on the roof of the house of Simon the Tanner; houses had flat roofs back then. The vision was symbolic: a voice ordered Peter to eat animals that Jews hadn’t touched for centuries, ever since they had been declared unclean by the Law of Moses. The vision was symbolic: the Good News of Jesus was not just for Jewish people but everyone.

This paradigm shift did not come from nowhere. Ancient Hebrew prophets had spoken of a time when God would call Jews and non-Jews to himself – a prophecy fulfilled in Messiah Jesus; and Peter got the message.

We live in a world of requirements. Some are defined, such as jobs and exams, and others less so, but they can be just as exclusive. Think of social media, for example – we’re constantly being told to measure up, meet requirements and be what people want us to be; do so and we’re in, fail and we’re out. 

To belong to the family of God meant meeting requirements. Jewish identity was shaped by a certain set of markers. But now God was telling Peter that these markers were no longer necessary! The requirements had changed; observance of the Law of Moses no longer determined who was in or out. Because of this shift, early Christianity became a uniquely diverse, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic movement. 

In a world that expects us to measure up, Jesus welcomes us as we are. Whatever your background, Jesus wants you in his family. It is all about trusting him. In a pressurized, divisive, and demanding world we can know that because of Jesus we are always in and never out. 

Read on, to find out more about the story of Cornelius in context.









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