Cornelius the Gentile
Acts 10:21-33 ESV
Acts 10:34-41 (Peter tells about Jesus)
Acts 10:42-43 ESV
A Story of Love
In the previous scripture with Peter and Cornelius we found the Holy Spirit directing Cornelius to send a few of his men to find Simon Peter to ask him to come to Cornelius’ house.
About the same time, Simon Peter had a vision directing him three times to go with the three men Cornelius sent.
Now…normally, Peter would not go anywhere with three Gentiles (two servants and one Roman soldier). But God specifically told him to listen to the three men and to go with them.
In Acts 10:21-33 we read, “And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”
In faith Cornelius was expecting the Spirit to urge Peter to come. To prepare for Peter’s coming, Cornelius had invited his relatives and close friends to come to his house to hear what Peter had to say.
It goes without saying that neither party had the internet to check out the story. Peter’s confirmation to “go” with the servants came to him from a vision from God.
By faith Peter believed it was safe to go with the servants but that was after Peter had argued with God (verse 14).
It would have taken an enormous amount of faith to trust two servants and one Roman soldier of an unknown man. At this point we remember Peter basically told God “no” and so Peter was told to go three times. We also know Peter took other Jews from Joppa with him to go to Cornelius’ house.
In verse 28 Peter tells Cornelius it’s ‘unlawful’ for a Jew to associate with any one from another nation. BUT, God clearly told him someone was coming and Peter should not consider him to be unclean.
In Acts 10:29 Peter tells Cornelius that he didn’t even know why Cornelius sent for him.
By faith Peter went to the home of a Roman Commander who was a Gentile. Peter was only told he was a God fearing man who had a good reputation among the Jews (verse 22).
Likewise, Cornelius didn’t get a text confirming his men found Peter and they were on their way to his house.
By faith Cornelius believed his servants found Peter and they were on their way to his house.
Cornelius believed it so much that he invited family members and close friends to come hear the man God was sending. Scripture tells us many people had gathered in Cornelius’ house.
Cornelius believed by faith that someone was coming, but he didn’t know Peter. Scripture doesn’t say Cornelius even knew who Peter was. We do know that when Peter entered his house Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet to worship him (verse 25). Cornelius is being obedient to what he was told…
Cornelius then relayed what God told him in a vision to send for Simon Peter who was in Joppa.
In verses 34-43 Peter told the crowd Jesus’ story of love and sacrifice. Peter told them Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and was resurrected three days later.
In Acts 10:42-43 Peter said, “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
And Peter preached to the Gentiles.
In Acts 10:44-48, I’m not sure even Peter was ready for what happened next, for
“While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.”
This was the account of the first time anyone fully Gentile had been told the message about Jesus. Peter told the Gentiles Jesus’ story of love and sacrifice.
And by faith…they believed and they received the Holy Spirit. Then they were baptized.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Faith
Do you sense The Spirit is telling you to believe, to go, or to do something? In faith, receive and believe. Tell God you believe.
In God, Deborah