Acts 2:14-41 Peter spreads the Good News in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost in 30AD. Three thousand who hear his message become believers.
Acts 3:1-4:22 Peter heals a lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple (see Map 12). He and John are arrested by the temple guards and told not to preach.
Acts 5:1-16 As the leader of the church in Jerusalem over the next few years, Peter rebukes Ananias and Sapphira when they lie about the money they have received from selling some land.
Acts 5:17-42 Peter is the spokesperson when he and another apostle are arrested in Jerusalem.
Acts 8:14-24 Peter and John go to Sebaste in Samaria in 35AD and pray for the new Samaritan believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit (see 1 on Map 19).
Map 19 Peter's Journeys
Acts 8:25 They return to Jerusalem, sharing their message en route in many villages in Samaria.
Acts 9:32-35 Later in the year, Peter visits the believers in Lydda (called Lod in the Old Testament) (see 2 on Map 19). He heals Aeneas who has been bedridden for eight years. Lod, today, is the site of Tel Aviv’s international airport.
Acts 9:36-43 Peter is called to the port of Joppa where Tabitha (‘Dorcas’ in Greek, meaning a ‘gazelle’), one of the believers, has died. Peter prays for her, and the dead woman comes back to life.
Joppa (modern-day Jaffa) was the only natural harbour on the coast between Egypt and Phoenicia (see Map 19). It was an important commercial centre that would have been bustling with life when Peter visited it in 35AD.
Today it has been superceded as a port by the larger artificial docks at Ashkelon, but the old harbour area of Joppa has become a popular retreat for holiday crowds spilling over from the crowded sandy beaches of Tel Aviv immediately to the north.
Peter stayed in Joppa at the home of Simon the Tanner – the reputed site of which can still be visited today. St Peter’s Church commemorates Peter’s visit, while modern visitors to the tastefully restored narrow alleyways of the medieval quarter can get a taste of what Joppa felt like when it was a bustling commercial port in Peter’s day.
A modern sculpture called the ‘Statue of Faith’ depicts incidents from the Old Testament including Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac (see Genesis 22:9), Jacob’s dream of the staircase to heaven (see Genesis 28:12), and the Israelites marching round the walls of Jericho (see Joshua 6:20).
In Old Testament times, Lebanese cedars to construct Solomon’s Temple were unloaded in Joppa (see 1 Kings 5:8-10) and the prophet Jonah attempted to escape from God by embarking from Joppa on a boat heading for Tarshish (see Jonah 1:3).
Acts 10:1-8 Cornelius – a Gentile God-fearing centurion belonging to the Italian Cohort (an auxiliary unit of archers) based at the Roman administrative centre in Caesarea – has a vision of an angel who tells him to send for Peter in Joppa.
Medieval Quarter, Joppa
Acts 10:9-23 Peter – praying on the flat roof of Simon the Tanner’s house in Joppa – also has a vision in which he is told not to call anything ‘unclean’ that God has made ‘clean’ (see Leviticus 11:46-47).
Shortly after this, Cornelius’s two Gentile servants and his attendant arrive at Joppa. Peter invites them into the house to be his guests although Jews would not normally eat with Gentiles because they were regarded as ritually ‘unclean’ (see Deuteronomy 14:1-3) and eating with them would make a Jew ‘unclean’.
Peter in Caesarea and Jerusalem
Acts 10:23-48 Peter travels to Caesarea towards the end of 35AD and shares the Good News of Jesus’s death and resurrection with Cornelius’s Gentile family and friends (see 2 on Map 19). The Holy Spirit falls on all present and the six Jewish believers from Joppa (see Acts 11:12) are amazed that God has poured out his Spirit on the Gentiles – as they “heard them speaking in different languages and praising God” (Acts 10:46).
The new Gentile believers are baptised as “They have received the Holy Spirit just as we did!” (Acts 10:47). Peter stays in the Gentiles’ house at Caesarea for several days.
Roman theatre in Caesarea (Acts 10:24)
Acts 11:1-18 Peter reports back to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem (see 3 on Map 19). The more conservative Hebraic Jewish believers criticize Peter for eating with uncircumcised Gentiles, but most of the disciples agree to accept the new Gentile converts into the fellowship of believers.