Summary: A Palm Sunday sermon. This story about Peter and Cornelius has a couple of major parallels with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, especially the call for us to be a house of prayer for all nations.
Prayer for All? – Acts 10:1-23
Palm Sunday, 2005
This story about Peter has a couple of major parallels with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I want to highlight those and then make some application for us today.
1. Healings and Miracles
Both Peter and Jesus had just had some spectacular healing miracles that had caused great interest among the people. Both had raised someone from the dead. One of the main reasons for the Palm Sunday parade where so many people wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus was the miracle of the raising of Lazarus just a few weeks before. Bethany, where Lazarus lived, was only a few miles from Jerusalem.
And when Jesus entered into Jerusalem, one of the first things he did was to enter the Temple and cleanse it because it was to be a house of prayer for all people. Peter had his own dealings with the Lord about reaching out to all people, and not just his own kind.
Look back at Acts 9:32:
[Read Acts 9:32-35]
Peter said, “Jesus Christ heals you.” The credit is all to Jesus. If you have a gift of healing, or simply pray for the healing of someone and they are healed, is it you who healed them? No. It is Jesus Christ!
[Read Acts 9:36-43]
Peter had been with the Lord, and did what he’d seen the Lord do. Not a bad idea, to follow the Lord’s example! Peter cleared the room just like Jesus did that day in Capernaum. Once he had all of them out of the room, he could concentrate. He knelt down, and turned prayerfully to the Lord, seeking, asking the Lord to reveal His will concerning this situation.
When we find ourselves in a high-pressure situation, when people are looking to us for answers, we need to stop and call upon the Lord. Peter needed to be sure of what the Lord wanted done here. I don’t think anyone would have criticized Peter if had come out of that room and said the Lord had not healed her. Raising the dead is not your ordinary healing; it is a true miracle. But in prayer, Peter got the assurance he needed that the Lord was going to raise this woman.
Gone was the brash fisherman, replaced by this man of prayer and devotion. Prayer is an essential part of any ministry. Prayer is our power source, from which ministry flows. Peter knew whom he got his power from, and he called out to Jesus for the miracle that was about to take place.
Peter uses this miracle as an opportunity to share the gospel once again, as we have seen him do many other times in the book of Acts, and the people respond the same way here. They come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. People want the power of God working in their lives. People want to know that there is some higher authority that is looking out for them, leading them and guiding them.
Recently, many of us saw the DVD testimony of the Nigerian pastor was raised from the dead just a few years ago. This is perhaps the best-documented case I know of. God still performs miracles. One day we will see miracles performed right here.
C. Peter Wagner, in his commentary Acts of the Holy Spirit, lists several things that we learn from seeing the dead raised? I want to read these to you:
“Here we have the first, but not the last, case of a dead person being raised in the book of Acts. Another case will come when Paul ministers in Lystra (see Acts
14). In the biblical narrative, we now switch from Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, raising dead people, such as Jairus’s daughter and Lazarus and then being raised from the dead Himself, to a human being, Peter, also serving as God’s instrument to do it. What do we learn from this?
”*Raising the dead is a Christian ministry. It obviously is not part of the normal ministry of an average church, but it is something that pleases God to do through His people from time to time. As I have mentioned, it was part of the commission Jesus gave His disciples when He first sent them out on their own. Among other things, He told the 12 to "raise the dead" (Matt. 10:8).
“*Raising the dead represents only a partial victory over death. For one thing, all those who were raised from the dead, with the exception of Jesus Himself, eventually died again. Secondly, death remains a tragic human phenomenon. No one lives forever physically.
“*The ultimate cause of death is Satan. Satan made it happen first in the Garden of Eden, and since then, all human beings must pay the price for the imputed sin of Adam and Eve. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). We all must die unless we are fortunate enough to be on Earth during the rapture when "we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thess. 4:17).