Luke records the conversion of Saul three times in the book of Acts (Acts 9, 22 and 26) and also tells Peter’s vision twice (Acts 10 and 11) and alludes to it once (Acts 15:7-11). Why are these two events repeated three times each? Any relationship?
Of course, there is, why else would I ask the question?
The relationship between both events is that something new is going on with Gentiles, expanding the Jewish mindset of the Gospel. New things are under way.
Saul was converted to focus on a ministry to Gentiles. Peter’s vision was to get him to see Gentiles as clean and open his mind to the possibilities of the Spirit among the Gentiles.
Perhaps this isn’t a big deal for us Gentiles, but this was a huge shift for Jewish thinking. But what exactly was going on here? Why is this such a big deal for Luke?
Many conclude that the point is that Gentiles can now be saved. But this is not the point; Gentiles could always be saved, ask Jonah.
The significance of what’s going on in the NT between Jews and Gentiles is that being a Jew or Gentile no longer matters! God is calling out a new people, a new spiritual people.
This new people are in Christ and become known as “The Church.” This is a big huge deal, one with amazing consequences that we rarely consider. Paul later refers to this as “the mystery.”
Not only does Luke give much attention to it, Paul speaks of it numerous times. A quick glance through Catholic, Reformed, Puritan or modern day theology shows you that we completely miss the significance. There is mention of the word “mystery” in various theologies, but the mystery of Christ, the Church, is almost entirely ignored. Wonder why that is?
Ah, another question I would not have asked if I didn’t think I had the answer!