David Matson

Entering a household of peace

And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. Acts 10:24

Previously we've looked at the link between Jesus' instructions to his disciples on mission and his own example. We've looked at a continuing pattern of household conversions in Acts.

Of all the examples in Acts, one stands out. Luke tells the story of the conversion of Cornelius, his friends and family, an unprecedented four times. He wants to get our attention.

Peter's mission to Cornelius' household was modelled on Jesus' example and training on how to enter a household of peace.

Jesus trained his disciples out to convert households as a doorway into unreached communities (Luke 10). This was the example Jesus set when he entered Zacchaeus' home (Luke 19). In Acts, the Risen Lord led his followers to enter an unreached community through receptive households.

The best example in Acts is the story of Peter and Cornelius which Luke retells four times. It is not the story of one person's conversion. It is the story of the founding of a church.

Here are the parallels between the instructions Jesus gave the 72 before he sent them out, and the mission of Peter to the Gentiles in Acts.

Luke 10 compare Acts 10.jpg

What is it that Luke is trying to tell us? What relevance does Jesus example, training have for us today?

Household conversions in Acts

Jesus sent his disciples out on mission looking for responsive households. He set the same example in his mission. The pattern continued in Acts.

Luke is the only New Testament writer who believed that the story of Jesus was incomplete without the story of the spread of the gospel through his followers, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

About on quarter of Acts is devoted to conversion stories. Among these stories are four accounts of the conversion of households.

  • Cornelius - a centurion (10:1-11:18)
  • Lydia - a female merchant (16:11-15)
  • A Roman jailor - a Roman civil servant (16:25-34)
  • Crispus - a synagogue president (18:1-11)

The gospel marches from Jerusalem to Rome primarily by the means of the house. The mission of the church begins in a house (1:13-2:22) and ends in a house (28:30).

The messengers in Acts convert entire households to faith in the manner of the seventy-two messengers in Luke who followed Jesus' instructions (Luke 10) and example (Luke 19).

Next: Cornelius and his household believe.

Household conversions in Acts

Jesus sent his disciples out on mission looking for responsive households. He set the same example in his mission. The pattern continued in Acts.

Luke is the only New Testament writer who believed that the story of Jesus was incomplete without the story of the spread of the gospel through his followers, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

About on quarter of Acts is devoted to conversion stories. Among these stories are four accounts of the conversion of households.

  • Cornelius - a centurion (10:1-11:18)
  • Lydia - a female merchant (16:11-15)
  • A Roman jailor - a Roman civil servant (16:25-34)
  • Crispus - a synagogue president (18:1-11)

The gospel marches from Jerusalem to Rome primarily by the means of the house. The mission of the church begins in a house (1:13-2:22) and ends in a house (28:30).

The messengers in Acts convert entire households to faith in the manner of the seventy-two messengers in Luke who followed Jesus' instructions (Luke 10) and example (Luke 19).

Next: Cornelius and his household believe.

Jesus did what he taught his disciples to do.

Luke 10 v Luke 19.jpg Finding "persons of peace" is an important element in most disciple making movements. This practice is grounded in Jesus' instructions to his disciples when he sent them out on mission. Jesus also led by example as this comparison table shows.

Much of Luke’s gospel is taken up with Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:28).

At the beginning of the journey Jesus sends the 72 out on a mission to the towns he is about to visit.

Near the end of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem he meets Zacchaeus the tax collector. In that story Luke gives us a detailed account of how Jesus typically entered an unreached community through a receptive household. Jesus did what he taught his disciples to do.

There are clear parallels with the instructions he gave to the 72 before sending them out on mission (Luke 10) and Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus (Luke 19).

Next: how this pattern of household evangelism is repeated in Acts.

Jesus did what he taught his disciples to do.

Luke 10 v Luke 19.jpg Finding "persons of peace" is an important element in most disciple making movements. This practice is grounded in Jesus' instructions to his disciples when he sent them out on mission. Jesus also led by example as this comparison table shows.

Much of Luke’s gospel is taken up with Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:28).

At the beginning of the journey Jesus sends the 72 out on a mission to the towns he is about to visit.

Near the end of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem he meets Zacchaeus the tax collector. In that story Luke gives us a detailed account of how Jesus typically entered an unreached community through a receptive household. Jesus did what he taught his disciples to do.

There are clear parallels with the instructions he gave to the 72 before sending them out on mission (Luke 10) and Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus (Luke 19).

Next: how this pattern of household evangelism is repeated in Acts.