Peter on His Defense
The importance that Luke attached to this incident is shown by the amount of space he devoted to it. His writing was on a roll of papyrus that was about 35 feet long. Luke had almost endless material to fit into that space. He must have selected with the greatest care what he was going to set down; yet, he finds the story of Peter and Cornelius of such importance that he twice relates it in full.
Luke was right. We usually do not realize how near Christianity was in becoming only another kind of Judaism. All the first Christians were Jews and the whole tradition and outlook of Judaism would have moved them to keep this new wonder to themselves and to believe that God could not possibly have meant it for the Gentiles. Luke sees this incident as a notable milestone on the road along which the Church was groping its way to the concept of a world for Jesus.
The fault for which Peter was initially on trial was that he had eaten with Gentiles (verse 3). By so doing, Peter had outraged the ancestral Law and traditions of his people. Peter's defense was not an argument; it was a statement of the facts. Whatever his critics might say, the Holy Spirit had come upon these Gentiles. In verse 12, there is a significant sidelight. Peter says that he took six brethren with him. That made seven persons present. In Roman law, seven seals were necessary to authenticate an important document. So, Peter is saying, "I am not arguing with you. I am telling you the facts and there are seven witnesses."
The proof of Christianity always lies in facts, and the proof of Christianity is that it works.
Life Application: Have you ever had to prove that you are a Christian? What was your argument/proof? Peter's was a group of witnesses. So, maintain a group of friends that have received Jesus as savior.
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, again I thank You for the Bible. I love reading it and seeing how the early believers maintained their walk with You. There is such encouragement in their personal testimonies. Thank You for those who went before me and help me to leave a personal testimony that will encourage others to follow You. Amen!