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Cornelius
Bible Passage Acts 10: 1-8
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Acts.

Cornelius

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached June 6, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
1 Now in Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.

2 He was a devout man who feared God, as did everyone in his home. He gave many gifts to the poor among the people and always prayed to God.

3 One day, about three in the afternoon, he had a vision and clearly saw an angel of God coming to him and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

4 He stared at the angel in terror and asked, “What is it, Lord?” The angel answered him, “Your prayers and your gifts to the poor have arisen as a reminder to God.

5 Send men now to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter.

6 He is a guest of Simon, a leatherworker, whose house is by the sea.”

7 When the angel who had spoken to him had gone, Cornelius summoned two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of those who served him regularly.

8 He explained everything to them and sent them to Joppa.

BACKGROUND
In the Roman regiment based in Caesarea was a centurion named Cornelius, a man who was such a sincere God-fearer that all his household followed his faith. In response to his expressions of faith and acts of kindness, God promised to send Peter to tell him the good news of Jesus Christ by which he could be saved.

For the Romans, Caesarea was the capital city of Judea. It was about 104 kilometers (65 miles) northwest of Jerusalem. The government was in Caesarea and many soldiers guarded the city.

A centurion was the leader or captain or commander of a unit of about 600 soldiers. Cornelius was a Gentile but he worshipped the one real God. Significantly, he helped Jewish poor people. There were many Gentiles like Cornelius. They did not worship Roman gods but God. But they did not follow the Jewish religion completely. This was because they had not received circumcision.

The Jews called such Gentiles ‘God-fearers’. This did not mean that they were afraid of God. It meant that they revered God and obeyed Him. But they were still Gentiles.

Cornelius was the first real Gentile that joined the church.

One afternoon, an angel spoke to Cornelius. Cornelius was praying. 3 o’clock was one time when *Jews prayed. (Jews prayed at certain times of the day. That was usual for them. Look at Acts 3:1.) The angel said that God had noticed Cornelius’s prayers and gifts. God wanted Cornelius to meet Simon Peter.

Simon Peter was in Joppa, which was about 51 kilometers (32 miles) south, on the coast. Cornelius was probably very surprised. He did not know why he had to meet Simon Peter. He did not know what would happen.

Cornelius obeyed the angel immediately. We know that all his family believed in God (verse 2). When some writers translate the word for ‘family’, it means everyone in the house. So, Cornelius could trust his servants when he told them about the vision. He also told one soldier about it. This was one of the soldiers who worked for him. The soldier also worshipped God. Then Cornelius sent the three men to fetch Peter.

While Peter was at Joppa, God was preparing him for that special Gentile ministry in Caesarea. Peter met Cornelius. In his address, Peter emphasized at the outset that, although Israel was God’s means of sending the Saviour Jesus, in the matter of personal salvation God did not favour one nation above another (Act 10: 34-36).

Peter then summarized the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection (verses 37-42), and concluded by repeating that forgiveness was available to people of any nationality (verse 43).

Cornelius and his household, being already prepared for the gospel, readily believed when they heard it. Immediately, they received the gift of the Holy Spirit direct from God, without an apostle doing anything at all. It was like a repeat of the Pentecost events, but this time with Gentiles, not Jews. Peter saw clearly that God had accepted these Gentiles and he had no hesitation in baptizing them.

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 God accepts all persons no matter their race or background

🔷 Believers must be merciful to the poor and help them overcome their challenges

🔷 We must learn to pray since God equally communicates to us at such times too

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Pray for the poor
💥 Pray that your household will accept Christ

CONCLUSION📙
We must put into practice our beliefs in such a way that they should positively affect those who are around us. Our faith must be active.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections