November 19: Acts 9-10
1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, 8 and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
Acts 10:1-8, ESV
God knows everything! In our Bible reading today we learn of a Roman centurion, in charge of 100 soldiers, who feared God. Though this was totally unheard of by the Jews of that day, God knew that Cornelius, the centurion, was his child. Convincing the Jewish Christians of this was another matter; they believed that Jesus Christ came only for them.
God heard Cornelius' prayers and sent an angel to him, telling him to send for the Apostle Peter, who was staying in Joppa. Then, before Cornelius' men arrived at Joppa, God sent a vision to Peter.
9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
Acts 10:9-16, ESV
While Peter was pondering this vision, Cornelius' men arrived at his gate. When Peter spoke with the men, he understood the meaning of his vision. The Jewish people considered all Gentiles unclean, but God was showing Peter that Christ died for more than just the Jews.
Why is this so significant to us in the 21st century? Do you realize, that if Christ only came for the Jews, most of us would have no opportunity to become Christians. I hope that thought is extremely disturbing to you! And, I hope, too, that it causes you to fall on your knees before Christ and thank Him again for the salvation that He has granted to you!
It is good for Christians to ponder what it would mean to have a life without Christ followed by eternity without Him. How quickly we tend to take our relationship to Christ for granted. There is nothing in all of the world more important than our relationship to Christ, and there is no duty we perform that is more important than our service to Him.
Ponder the story of the conversion of Cornelius as you go about your duties of this day, and thank God for His grace in granting you salvation through the blood of Christ.
God Bless You,