The Gospel Speads - A Devotional about Joffa
Jaffa or Joffa in Hebrew is “Yafo,” which means beautiful or “yofee” which means beauty. This is why another name for the Ben Gurion Airport is Tel Aviv/Yafo.
Joffa is an ancient port city on the Mediterranean Sea. The modern city of Tel Aviv grew to the north of it and now the two form one municipality.
In Acts 10:1-3, 5-6 we read: Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion…a devout man and one who feared God…About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God…he said to him…’…dispatch some men to JOPPA and send for a man named Simeon, who is also called Peter.”
From Joffa, Peter took the Gospel to a Gentile, Cornelius, for the first time. God had given Cornelius a vision. He was to contact Simon Peter, who had received a special vision also. Peter, whom the Lord called “rock” and whose heart broke at denying Him, was now used mightily of God. When a believing sister in Joffa, Tabitha, became sick and died, her brothers called for Peter and in response to his prayer, God raised her from the dead. It was in Joffa that Cornelius’ messengers found Peter.
Something of great importance was about to take place. The nation of Israel, which God took such pains to keep apart from all the other nations, was now to embark on its worldwide mission to carry the Good News of God’s salvation to all four corners of the earth. This was a total change of strategy—a 180-degree turnaround – a very hard thing for the Jewish mindset to accept. Therefore, God had to give Peter a vision.
This vision is one that today seems to be so misunderstood. Many think this is teaching about kosher eating. It is not. It is only using the dietary laws, which everyone understood, as an illustration so it would be easy to interpret.
When Peter was commanded to eat non-kosher meat, the voice from heaven responded, “What God has cleaned, no longer consider unholy.” (Acts 10:15). This was repeated three times. God was using this illustration as symbolic of the Gentile-Jewish relationship. This became clear to Peter as events continued to unfold.
As Peter was still pondering the meaning of his vision, Cornelius’ messengers arrived at the house. Peter went with them, and upon entering Cornelius’ home and hearing his testimony, a big shift in his worldview took place. Then the Holy Spirit came upon all who heard the word he declared to them, there was no longer any doubt as to what was happening. The Lord was making “both groups” – Jews and Gentiles – “into one.”
Joffa, this quaint town on the shore of the Mediterranean, was the place where it all started.
Joffa was also the place from which Jonah boarded a ship to flee from God’s calling. We know the outcome of that escapade.
Song For Israel offers tours to Israel annually. Click here for the 2020 itinerary, pictures and details.