Acts 10:33: “Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us” (NIV)
Observation: Cornelius was a Roman Centurion who loved God. Generous to the poor, faithful in his prayer life, he had been visited by an angel who honored Cornelius for the richness of his life and told him to send for Simon Peter. The angel gave Cornelius Peter’s name, the name of the homeowner with whom Peter was staying in another city, and directions to the house. As Cornelius’s friends headed for Joppa to call Peter, God was at the same time giving Peter a vision designed to make him instantly responsive to Cornelius’s request for Peter to come and share the Gospel.
Application: Everything about this story was designed to fan the flames of a heart hungry for more of God. A Gentile worshiper saw and heard an angel clearly enough to act without question. Peter changed a core tenant of his theology based upon a single vision (although it was repeated three times, apparently for emphasis). When Peter arrived four days later at Cornelius’s house, he found the place already packed with Cornelius’s family and friends, all of whom expected Peter to show up and tell them the things of the Lord. This last point seems most astonishing because it carries the greatest risk of embarrassment had Peter not come. But Cornelius’s confidence in God was so great that he risked all credibility on the expectation that the Jewish apostle would break fundamental Jewish taboo to come to the home of a Gentile.
Can I see myself in these men? When was the last time I was so desperate to plumb the depths of God that He sent an angel to show me how? When did I last obey instruction given so clearly that I had to risk laying aside all I believed in a certain area simply to act in obedience to the Holy Spirit? And if willing to take such risk, how prepared am I to expose my journey to those closest to me? Cornelius was a man whose heart burned to know God, and he was willing to risk his reputation and his standing among friends in pursuit of God. There is always more of Him to be known. I can spend a lifetime in hot-hearted pursuit only to find I have touched just the edges of His personality, His emotions, His love for me. To the longing heart He delights to reveal more of Himself; in the cry of my heart for intimacy with Him, I finally become One with His own heart’s longing.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive my complacency. Forgive me for every tendency to think I have You figured out, and my theology right. Blow the sides out of my small heart, that it might be enlarged by You.