Online Bible Commentary
Who Am I?
Acts 11:11 At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. 13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.' 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."(NKJV)
The time is about A.D. 40. The new movement called “The Way”, and later called Christianity, is about ten years old. The gospel had been taken first to the Jews, then to the Samaritans, those descendants of Jews and Gentiles (non Jews) who intermarried, and now Peter has just brought the gospel to some Gentiles in Caesarea.
When Peter returned to Jerusalem the apostles and other Jewish disciples had already heard that he had taken the gospel to some Gentiles. The Jewish believers confronted Peter for associating with Gentiles.
“The Way” movement initially was believed to be a sect of Judaism and therefore only available to Jews. Jews were taught not to associate with Gentiles.
Peter then launched into the reason why he took the gospel to the Gentiles. Earlier in this chapter, he explained the vision which the Lord had given him while he was praying at the home of Simon, the tanner, in Joppa.
Now, in this passage, Peter picks up the story at the time his vision ended. The three men sent by Cornelius, the Gentile in Caesarea, to bring Peter to him showed up at Peter’s door just as the vision ended (v. 11).
The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with these men, “doubting nothing” (v. 12a). Six disciples accompanied him on the trip to Caesarea, some thirty miles up the coast of the Mediterranean Sea from Joppa (v. 12b).
After they entered Cornelius’ home, Cornelius related to them the vision of the angelic visit that had prompted him to call for Peter (vv. 12c-13). The angel told Cornelius that Peter would “tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (v. 14). Present in the home were Cornelius, his family, and some friends that he had called to witness this event.
As Peter began to speak the “Holy Spirit” immediately fell upon the Gentiles in the home, just as He had on Peter and the apostles “at the beginning”, on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem (v. 15). Peter then remembered “the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit’” (v. 16, Acts 1:5).
Now, Peter reasons with the Jewish believers “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God" (v. 17). After some thoughtful deliberation, the Jewish believers “glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (v. 18).
So Peter is essentially saying “If God ordains something, who am I to say otherwise?” This is the attitude we all should have when encountering the will of God.
Unfortunately, we, all too often, take a different road. We tend to question God, or even get mad and pull away from Him. We forget that He is God and we are not.
God is sovereign and can do what He chooses when He chooses. He is in charge and we are only along for the ride. Like Peter, who am I to contend with the Lord?