God Prepares Cornelius: Acts 10:1-8
“1) Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, 2) a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually. 3) About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” 4) And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5) Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; 6) he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.” 7) When the angel who was speaking to him had left, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were his personal attendants, 8) and after he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.” Acts‬ ‭10‬:‭1‬-‭8‬ ‭
With this text, God prepares to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. He uses extraordinary means for the task. Of all people, God sends Peter. He was the Apostle to the Jewish people. God loves breaking boxes and working in non conventional ways. Let’s review the story.
After raising Tabitha from the dead, Peter stayed on in Joppa for many days at the beach home of Simon the tanner. Many believed in the Lord as a result of the miracle. Peter was taking advantage of the open door for the gospel and possibly organizing a church in the area.
Meanwhile, in Caesarea about forty miles to the north, God was preparing some fresh soil. A Roman centurion named Cornelius and his whole household was sincerely seeking God. He was there leading an Italian cohort. In other word, he was Italian. Though he had not yet heard the gospel, he was continually seeking God in prayer and giving alms and favor to the Jewish people.
Then it happened, God sent an angel to Cornelius in a vision about the ninth hour of the day with vivid and clear instructions to send for Simon, who is also called Peter. The vision was so specific that the angel called Cornelius by name and included the address where Peter was saying.
It is notable that his prayers and alms had ascended as a memorial before God. (Vs 4) When people are sincerely seeking God, He will find a way to bring the gospel to them. The angel specifically ordered him to dispatch some men to Joppa and bring Peter back with them. Then the angel departed.
Immediately, Cornelius assembled a delegation that included two of his servants and a devout soldier. Verse 8 says that Cornelius explained everything to them and then sent them to Joppa.
Can you imagine the meeting with his servants and the soldier? Cornelius; “I just had a vision of an angel who gave me orders to send for a guy named Simon, who is also called Peter who staying with a tanner named Simon by the sea in Joppa. Pack your bags for a few days and go and bring him back here.” Delegation; “Say what?” Then they look at the sun dial thinking; “It’s only the ninth hour of the day, he can’t be drunk already!” (Compare with Acts 2:15)
When God is at work, He prepares both sides of the story. He was about to give Peter a vision as well and prepare him for the encounter. This was about to become a Divine encounter that would shape the course of human history. God is very detailed and in control, but He often uses unconventional means. We are called to obey and walk by faith even when things appear totally out of the ordinary.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global