34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all —
37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.
40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,
41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.
43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
open his mouth (v.34) — indicating that what was about to be said was an important and solemn utterance
perceive (v.34) = to seize or grasp with the mind
no partiality (v.34) — A Hebraism — “to regard with favor” — lit. “to raise the face”
And now Peter makes a significant statement: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (v.34).
Mark well, this is the same person who, a few years ago, had been instructed: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:5); who had heard his Master say; “I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24) and “Let the children first be filled” (Mark 7:27). This is the one who had later been sent with the other apostles to preach repentance and remission of sins to all nations “beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47) who himself had cried to the house of Israel: “Ye are the children … of the covenant … unto you first … “ etc. (Acts 3:25-26). But now he says: “God has showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28) and “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (v.34) — Acts Dispensationally Considered, by C.R. Stam, pages 92-93.
accepted by Him (v.35) — The adjective is Paulo-Luken (Luke 4:19, 24; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Philippians 4:18). The idea expressed is that the disposition of heart evidenced by Cornelius and men of his type is one which God can regard with favor, so as to meet and satisfy it. Cf. Psalm 50:23; 107:9. Though the centurion was not yet actually in a state of salvation (11:14), he was an earnest seeker after it. And those who seek shall find (Matthew 7:7-8). — The Acts of the Apostles, by Thomas Walker, page 241.
you know (v.37) — Cornelius had heard about the ministry of Jesus (v.38)
doing good (v.38) = benefiting others
oppressed by the devil (v.38) — primarily, but probably not exclusively, demon possession
showed Him openly (v.40) — visibly in such a way that there could be no doubt He was the same person who had suffered and died
chosen (v.41) = appointed — These witnesses were chosen, by the time of their first call as followers of the Lord, to be witnesses of His resurrection.
preach (v.42) = evangelize
testify (v.42) = act as a thorough witness
prophets (v.43) — Isaiah 45:22; 49:6; 53:6; Zechariah 9:10, etc.
Peter here stressed a fact which is too often overlooked: that John actually preached baptism (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3) and that he did this in connection with the manifestation of Christ to Israel (Cf. John 1:31). Then he continued with the story of the Lord’s earthly ministry “in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem” (vs.38-39) and finally related how they slew Him and hanged Him on a tree, but how God raised Him from the dead again, and how He had commanded the eleven to proclaim Him as God’s ordained Judge of quick and dead (vs. 39-40).
All this, of course, is strictly in line with prophecy and forms a striking contrast to Paul’s gospel of the grace of God, for whereas Peter began with Christ’s earthly ministry and proceeded to His death, resurrection and appointment as Judge, the apostle Paul later began with the death and resurrection of Christ as glad news for salvation and proceeded to His glory at God’s right hand as the Dispenser of grace and Head of the Body. Indeed, Peter, relating the fact of our Lord’s death, did not even offer it as the means of salvation, as Paul later did in “the preaching of the cross.”
Even according to prophecy and the “great commission,” however, salvation was to be through faith in the person of Christ. (Though the true believer at that time would “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” according to the divine instructions — Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Hence Peter went on to say: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (v.43). — Stam, pgs. 97-98