At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” 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. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 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, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
Comment: Cornelius was apparently a thoroughly good man. As a Centurion (equivalent to a captain, over a hundred men) he was a Roman soldier based in Caesarea, an important city in Judea. By theJews he was a member of the hated conquerors. From the story we can presume that God knows what is going on in people’s lives and takes notice. He, God, sent an angel to tell Cornelius that He, God, wanted to share some significant matter with him, and that he, Cornelius, was to seek out and meet with Simon in a nearby town, Joppa. To the gentile Roman soldier this would be startling but there was no prejudice raised for him meeting with a Jew. But how will the Jew Simon (Peter) handle this contact with a gentile. He had been brought up to shun close relations with gentile ‘pigs’.
Prayer: Thank You, God, for letting us know how the gospel spread over racial boundaries.