Last night, I read Acts Chapter 10. It is such a great story! God knows Cornelius. He is not a Jew, He is a Centurion in the Italian Regiment. A centurion supposedly commanded a regiment of a hundred soldiers in the Roman army. Cornelius is devout in his faith in God. He gives to the poor, fasts, and prays. One day, he sees the vision of an angel. The angel calls him by name, and he acknowledges the voice. The angel informs him that his prayer and alms have come up for a memorial before God.
The angel tells him to send men to Joppa, to find Simon Peter. The angel gives more direction, saying that Peter is staying with a tanner, whose house is beside the sea. When Peter is found, he will tell Cornelius what he must do.
The Centurion sends two of his household servants, and a devout soldier that he knew well, to find and send for Peter in Joppa.
These three go on their journey, arriving in Joppa, and inquiring as to whether Peter was staying there.
While they are doing their part, Peter is having an amazing experience as well. He is hungry, and goes up to the roof to pray while his food is being prepared. He goes into a trance, where he sees heaven open, and something like a sheet bound at four corners descending to earth. It is filled with all kinds of four footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.
A voice tells him to kill and eat. Peter replies, “Not so, Lord! for I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” The Jewish people had a strict diet according to the laws of Moses. The second time Peter hears the voice, it says, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
This happens three times. The object was then taken up to heaven.
God was preparing Peter to meet these men that Cornelius sent. Jews and Gentiles didn’t hang out or speak to each other very often. Without this vision, Peter might have brushed them off. Just as the three men were at the gate where Peter was lodging, this voice tells Peter to go down to the three men who were seeking him, and to doubt nothing; for God had sent them.
Peter had the three men stay for the night, then they began their journey back to Cornelius at Caesarea. Those three men described Cornelius as a centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews. They tell Peter that Cornelius was divinely instructed by a holy angel to find Peter so he could hear words from him.
Cornelius tries to worship Peter as he enters his house. Peter told him to stand up, because he was just a man like Cornelius. It was actually unlawful for a Jewish man to keep company with, or go to one of another nation. Peter said that God showed him that he should not call any man common or unclean. He came without objection when he was sent for.
Peter goes on to tell Cornelius of Jesus, how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Peter said he was a witness to all those things that Jesus did. After Jesus was crucified, he rose again, and Peter was a witness that he ate and drank with Jesus after He arose from the dead.
Cornelius had a big crowd at his house that were invited to hear Peter. While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. There were those who were circumcised that believed, and were astonished that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. Those Gentiles were speaking with tongues and magnifying God.
Peter couldn’t think of any reason to forbid them from being baptized. Cornelius, and those who heard, were baptized in the name of the Lord.
God is not partial. It doesn’t matter what position, or race we are born with in life, He sees us when we are searching, and when we are eager to know Him. God sees and hears us. It does not go unnoticed when we pray, fast, and give to the poor, and seek out the living God. God’s salvation is for everyone.
Thank You, Lord, for this story in the Bible about Cornelius. Help me to be a devout Christian too. You have delivered me from the oppressive hold of the devil, and I thank You for all that You are, and all that You’ve done.