In the time of Jesus, Jews were not to associate with Gentiles. Scripture tells us that Cornelius’ prayers and gifts to the poor had come up as a memorial offering before God. In a vision God had told Cornelius to send for Peter. God had also told Peter profoundly in a vision to go with the messengers. How was God obeyed by these early first century Christians? Those men followed God’s commands and took fellow believers with them. Jews were supposed to avoid non-Jews who were considered spiritually impure and unfit for worshipping God until they converted to Judaism. Peter’s vision explained otherwise. Peter said, “God has shown me that I should never think of anyone as impure or unclean (Acts 10:28).”
How did God’s word spread among the believers? When Peter told Cornelius about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the soldier and his family became active followers. Was there a language barrier? How did everyone understand? Suddenly all who heard the message began speaking in a strange language! Peter and the followers of Jesus Christ recognized this as God’s work and baptized everyone!
A military commander was chosen by God as a Gentile convert to Christianity. Was it because of his respectfulness? Did God see potential in Cornelius for Christian growth? For all his authority, note the respect Cornelius showed Peter. How can we learn from this story of Cornelius and Peter’s examples to be better messengers for God today? Does Satan cause doubts and disobedience to God’s word?
God allowed Cornelius to use several titles such as a centurion of the Italian Regiment along with being a devout and fearful servant working with his whole household. He always prayed to God. In a clear vision from God, he saw an angel who told him how his prayers and acts of charity had come up as a memorial offering before God. God directed Peter to visit Cornelius just as He puts people in our lives to help us understand our mission in this world. God’s message was revealed to Peter in verses 17-23 and he followed the commands of the Holy Spirit through three men who had been looking for him. He went downstairs and accompanied them with no doubts at all because he saw their godliness. Peter ministered to Cornelius and other followers.
Can we too be divinely directed to fulfill a mission for God? Are we sometimes appointed by God through His holy angels to do good work? God knows what we need even before we ask Him. In a visionary state, Cornelius and Peter saw God making a way out of no way to solve their problems in Acts 10. Today’s events can also be controlled by the power of God. Let us continue to trust Him and not lean on our own understanding. Read and learn how Cornelius was blessed after he sent for Peter when the message arrived from God’s angel! God’s power prevailed in the lives and works of Cornelius and Peter. Our charitable deeds and prayer requests for the benefits of others will always be multiplied and expanded by God, our Creator!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.