Peter Testifies of Jesus Christ to Cornelius and Other Gentiles

Acts 10:36–43

36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judæa, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of 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 slew and hanged on a tree:
40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

“. . . Peter and his associates had the same obligation for their day that we have for ours: to carry the message of salvation to the ends of the earth. . . .

“. . . After he had taught the doctrines and after he had reasoned, he bore a personal witness of the truth and divinity of what he was presenting to his fellowmen; and the Lord prepared him to do just that by giving him spiritual experiences, by letting the power of the Holy Spirit rest upon him.

“You will recall, for instance, that Peter and some others of the Twelve and a small group of Saints were assembled in an upper room; that the Lord Jesus appeared; that the people there assembled were terrified and affrighted; and that the Lord said to them: ‘Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have’ (Luke 24:38–39). Then they stretched forth their hands and felt the wound marks that scarred His body. He called for meat and ate it before them. . . .

“All this was done to show that Jesus had come forth from the tomb with a tangible body. It was the Lord’s way of giving to Peter and his associates a witness of the truth and divinity of His divine Sonship. If He rose from the dead, He was the Son of God; if He was the Son of God, then the gospel of salvation they were proclaiming was true; and so their obligation was to establish in the minds of men that Jesus rose from the dead. Now as I say, they might have attempted to do this by quoting Isaiah, or reasoning out of the revelations, which of course they did; but having so done, they then had to bear a personal witness; and I now read a sample of such a witness that Peter bore. He said to a group of assembled Gentiles: [Acts 10:36–43]. . . .

“Now Peter could have reasoned at great length, and after having so done people could have argued with him and said, ‘You don’t understand the scriptures. Your interpretations are in error. This or that is wrong.’ But you can’t argue with a testimony, and so after Peter had reasoned, if he then said to them, as he must have done in substance and in thought content on many occasions, if he said to them, ‘I was in an upper room. The Lord Jesus came through the wall. He appeared to us. I recognized Him. He was the same person with whom I had labored and traveled for three and a half years. He is the person who lived in my home in Capernaum. I then felt the nail marks in His hands and in His feet. I thrust my hand into His side. I was there when He ate food and drank before us. I know He is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit of God has borne this witness to my soul’—if he said this to them, there was nothing left to debate. You can’t argue with that kind of a presentation. You can say, as Festus said to Paul: ‘Thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad’ (Acts 26:24), but in the final analysis all you can do is accept or reject the witness that is borne. It is either true or it is false. There is no middle ground.”

(“Upon Judea’s Plains,” Ensign, July 1973, 29.)