Tag Archives: Cornelius

Unlikely Converts? ~ Acts 10:23-48

He (Jesus) commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. ~ Acts 10:42

Responding to the direction of the Holy Spirit, Peter travels to Cornelius’ house and is greeted by a roomful of Gentiles – Gentiles who are hungry for the Word. Peter reminds the group that Jewish law forbids a Jew from entering the home of a Gentile but remembers the vision God gave him, “I now realize that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35).

HOLY SPIRIT - FOIX

HOLY SPIRIT – FOIX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God is actively working through the apostles to spread His Gospel to the ends of the earth. In this passage we see Cornelius and his family filled with the Holy Spirit after hearing Peter share the Gospel. The Jewish born brethren that joined Peter were astounded that the Holy Spirit gifted these Gentiles – and Peter declared that they, like the Jewish born brethren, should be baptized into the faith.

God’s plans trump our plans, or at least they should. As we walk through life, we must remember that God’s desire is that every man and woman would know His Son. We all encounter people in life who our human reasoning might lead us to believe will never come to faith. Let’s not sell God short. His plan for such people just might include you or me. Let us be open to God’s calling; let us always listen for His voice. Let us see all people as those whom God loves, and out of such love, let us be willing to share the universal truth of the Gospel as God would lead us.

Ponder this: Is there somebody to whom God would have me witness?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I know I need to be closer in touch with You and with Your will. Forgive me when I falter and awaken me to Your calling. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

No Longer Unclean ~ Acts 10:8-23

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” ~ Acts 10:15

English: Peter's vision of a sheet with animal...

English: Peter’s vision of a sheet with animals, from Acts 10; illustration from Henry Davenport Northrop, “Treasures of the Bible,” published 1894 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter, a Jew by birth, was about to be visited by Cornelius’ messengers – all Gentiles. The messengers would ask Peter to go with them to meet with Cornelius, also a Gentile, so that Peter could explain the Gospel to him. Commentaries offer a dual meaning to the vision Peter had – hungry and awaiting his lunch, Peter goes onto the roof to pray. As he prays, God gives him a vision of a sheet lowered from heaven containing various animals and creatures. “Kill and eat”, the Lord tells Peter, who responds that he has never eaten anything impure or unclean. The Lord tells Peter not to call anything impure that God has made clean.

As Peter was pondering the meaning of the vision, God answered his questions with the appearance of the Gentile messengers sent by Cornelius. Peter knew that God wanted him to go with them to declare the Gospel to Cornelius. God had not only delivered His promised Messiah to Israel, but He was extending that promise to the entire world and, in this situation, Peter was to participate. Remember Jesus’ words to His disciples recorded in Acts 1:8? “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” God’s plan to save the world through Jesus was indeed coming to fruition.

Commentaries also suggest that God, through this vision, abrogated Mosaic laws declaring certain animals unclean and therefore forbade their consumption. One could certainly draw that conclusion – Peter was hungry, a kosher meal was most certainly being prepared for him, and God sends this vision telling Peter that God considers these creatures also worthy and fit for human consumption. Gentiles already consumed such things; perhaps this was just one way of building the proverbial bridge between Jewish and Gentile tradition.

Through Jesus, God has freed us to enjoy His creation fully. He also wants us to share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone. God loves each and every one of us; even those who currently deny Him. We should love them, too; the greatest demonstration of such love is sharing the Good News of the Gospel.

Ponder this: People who need to hear the Good News cross my path daily. Who are they? Do I love them enough to share the Gospel with them?

My prayer for today: Father, please equip me with the wisdom and knowledge to appropriately consume that which You have given me; and give me the desire, courage, and opportunity to share Your Gospel with those around me who need to hear it. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

What Do I Value? ~ Acts 10:1-8

He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. ~ Acts 10:2

English: Minnesota state photograph "Grac...

English: Minnesota state photograph “Grace” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Describing a very “devout and God fearing” man named Cornelius, this passage offers a very succinct definition of what “devout and God fearing” means: “he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” (10:2). This pleased God so much that Cornelius’ prayers and gifts “have come up as a memorial offering before God” (10:4) according to the angel that appeared to Cornelius.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Perhaps it does upon the first read, but as I examine my life I realize that, based upon this standard for “devout and God fearing”, I have a lot of growing to do. American society values things and possessions. Our society measures us to a great extent by how much we have, what car we drive, and where we live. To be completely honest, I am a microcosm of American society; I am a consumer of things. I spend most of the money I earn. Based upon my ratio of spending versus giving, I do not give generously; I give a pittance. God has blessed me with much, and I realize that I do not honor Him with those blessings. My prayer is not regular either; it is sporadic and brief. God forgive me and reform me.

Although the passage does not state so, I bet Cornelius’ generosity and prayer life were noticed by those around him and served as a witness to his faith – I say so because God took notice and honored Cornelius for it. Make no mistake: we do not give and we do not pray to elevate ourselves before man; we give and we pray because we know that it pleases the God who loved us so much that He died to pay the penalty for our sins. I’ve got some growing to do. Time to get to work.

Ponder this: What do people see when they see me? Do they see one who is devout and God fearing, or do they see just one of many? More importantly, what does God see when He sees me? Is He pleased or is He saddened?

My prayer for today: Father, give me the wisdom and the wherewithal to be more generous with what I have while meeting the financial obligations I need to meet. Guide and direct my footsteps and grant me the wisdom to lead a devout and God fearing lifestyle – not so that I may be honored, Lord, but so that You would be glorified. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

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