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This section begins with three formally unrelated statements: (1) an admonition to “remember your leaders” (v. 7), (2) an affirmation of Jesus Christ as one who remains eternally the same (v. 8), and (3) a warning against strange teachings by contrasting “grace” with “ceremonial foods” (v. 9).
Christ is described as “high priest of the good things that have come.” This description ties the section to the earlier contrast between the “present time” (v. 9) and the “time…to set things right” (v. 10).
Three basic statements are made about the high priest. These attributes are made with the agenda of describing Christ from a high-priestly perspective.
The first verse of this new section begins where the last section ended, with Jesus as the faithful high priest. But two new elements are seen. First, the readers are addressed directly for the first time, with the title “brothers and sisters” and “holy partners in a heavenly calling.”
In vv. 1-2, God’s relationship to the Son is described. Three assertions about Christ are made with God as the subject: (1) God has spoken by a Son; (2) God has appointed him heir of all things; and (3) through the Son God created the worlds.
This final scene brings the Cornelius narrative to closure. Upon returning to Jerusalem Peter must offer a speech that summarizes for the audience in the story the gist of the narrative of Acts 10 (11:4). At the same time, the speech functions to review the key features of the preceding narrative for the reading audience.
This story has puzzled interpreters because it appears to offer an account of the conversion of a Gentile. Yet the attention Luke gives to the conversion of Cornelius (Acts 10–11) would seem to indicate that Luke’s narrative portrays the Cornelius episode as the initiation of the “Gentile mission” (see 11:18 and 15:7, 14).
The scene moves back to the council, where the apostles now stand in the middle of the semicircle, surrounded by their accusers. The high priest carries out the interrogation (vv. 27-28). In Luke’s narrative world, readers need to imagine the speaker to be Annas (cf. 4:6). Verse 28a reminds readers of the Sanhedrin’s prohibition of teaching in Jesus’ name (cf. 4:18).