The First Lesson for this Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles. The text is Acts 11:1-18 and is Peter’s recounting his vision of chapter 10 as a defense of his outreach and preaching to the Gentiles. Peter has acted on the vision he received in chapter 10 and went and preached the good news to the Gentiles, and with good results! Of course, the word got around and as Peter returns to Jerusalem he is criticized. Some translations say this criticism comes from the “circumcision party” and others indicate they are circumcised “believers.” The Greek might be better translated as, “…those, from the circumcised.”

The concern was Peter’s unlawful contact with the Gentiles. This was a violation of the ceremonial law and would lead to a Jew becoming unclean. While a Gentile could become part of the covenantal family, he must first become a Jew! It seems Peter was ready for their criticism because he had with him 6 witnesses (vs. 12) to support his testimony. It was a successful defense and those who opposed him ended up praising God!

In the Old Testament all the world is narrowed down to the people of Israel, which is eventually narrowed down to One—Jesus! Jesus is Israel reduced to one in order that all the world might be saved through Him. The Gospel message is to go to the entire world. From the One who saves to the salvation of all. This was the intention from the beginning. The part of the Israelites was for the purpose of bringing the One who could accomplish this beautiful task. Of course, this means once the Christ has come and accomplished the task the believers in Jesus become the chosen ones—chosen to preach, teach and reach the entire world. The vision of Peter clearly explains this and he clearly explains it to the circumcised who expressed opposition—but ended up giving praise to God!

11:1 ἐδέξαντο from: δέχομαι Aorist, middle: “to receive; to welcome”

11:2 ἀνέβη from: ἀναβαίνω Aorist: “to go up”

διεκρίνοντο from: διακρίνω Imperfect, middle: “to dispute; take issue with”

περιτομῆς “circumcision”

11:3 Εἰσῆλθες from: εἰσέρχομαι Aorist: “to go into”

συνέφαγες from: συνεσθίω Aorist: “to eat with (someone)”

11:4 ἀρξάμενος from: ἄρχω Aorist, middle, participle: “to begin”

ἐξετίθετο from: ἐκτίθεμαι Imperfect, middle: “to explain; to set forth”

καθεξῆς “in order; in succession” Idea is a carefully laid out apologetic.

11:5 προσευχόμενος from: προσεύχομαι Presnt, middle, participle: “to pray”

καταβαῖνον Present, participle: “to go down; to descend; to come down”

ὀθόνην “sheet” Usually made of linen.

καθιεμένην from: καθίημι Present, passive, participle: “to let down”

11:6 κατενόουν from: κατανοέω Imperfect: “to understand; to take notice of; to observe”

τετράποδα “four-footed”

11:7 ἀναστάς from: ἀνίστημι Aorist, participle: “to rise up”

θῦσον from: θύω Aorist, imperative: “to slay”

11:8 μηδαμῶς “by no means; not at all”

11:9 ἀπεκρίθη from: ἀποκρίνομαι Aorist, passive: “to answer”

ἐκαθάρισεν from: καθαρίζω Aorist: “to cleanse”

κοίνου from: κοινόω Present, middle, imperative: “to be common; make common” (middle: to consider common)”

11:10 ἀνεσπάσθη from: ἀνασπάω Aorist, passive: “to pull up; to draw up”

11:11 ἐπέστησαν from: ἐφίστημι Aorist: “to arrive; to come upon”

ἀπεσταλμένοι from: ἀποστέλλω Perfect, passive, participle: “to send”

11:12 συνελθεῖν from: συνέρχομαι Aorist, infinitive: “to accompany; to go with”

διακρίναντα from: διακρίνω Aorist, participle: “to make a distinction”

11:13 ἀπήγγειλεν from: ἀπαγγέλλω Aorist: “to report; announce”

σταθέντα from: ἵστημι Aorist, passive, participle: “to stand (passive)”

μετάπεμψαι from: μεταπέμπομαι Aorist, middle, imperative: “to send for”

11:14 σωθήσῃ from: σῴζω Future, passive: “to save; to rescue”

11:15 ἄρξασθαί from: ἄρχω Aorist, middle, infinitive: “to begin; ‘at the beginning…’”

ἐπέπεσεν from: ἐπιπίπτω Aorist: “to fall upon”

11:16 ἐμνήσθην from: μιμνήσκομαι Aorist: “to remember”

11:17 ἴσην from: ἴσος “same”

κωλῦσαι from: κωλύω Aorist, infinitive: “to forbid”

11:18 ἡσύχασαν from: ἡσυχάζω Aorist: “to be silent”

ἐδόξασαν from: δοξάζω Aorist: “to glorify”

I decided I would focus on the “letting down” theme because it brings to mind Jesus’ command to His disciples to “let down the nets” and the lesson appears to be quite similar. My brief outline follows:

Theme: Let Down The Gospel that Jesus Might Draw All Men to Himself.

I. Let down the Sheet/Let down the Net

A. The Good News of Jesus is for all.

B. Christ died for the entire world.

II. Preach, Teach and Reach

A. We are Christ’s vessels and instruments (broken and cracked)

B. The Gospel is also for us—heals us that we might carry out His work.

III. Jesus desires to Draw All Men to Himself.

A. The cross: (John 3:16)

B. The Atonement: Christ in our place.

Additional Resources:

Concordia Theology: Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Acts 11:1-18

Text Week: A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Acts 11:1-18.