Acts 10:1, 2 “Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, 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.”
Observation: Cornelius’ story is one that ought to thrill every believer because in a sense, we are his offspring. He was a Roman who was so devoted to God that God sent an angel in a clear vision to tell Cornelius to send for Peter. This is the vision that ultimately led the apostles, through Peter, to realize that the Gospel was for all who would believe. It was in Cornelius’ living room that the Holy Spirit first fell upon people who were not Jews but loved God. This was a strategic moment in the advance of the kingdom. Peter himself told Cornelius’ home fellowship, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.” He further said, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality” (Acts 10:28, 34).
Application: There is even more to the story, added perspective that will make it a real jaw-dropper. Cornelius was a centurion, a commander of soldiers in the Italian cohort. So what? Well, in John 18:3 we read, “Judas then, having received the Roman cohort … came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.” These were the guys sent to take Jesus captive, ultimately leading to His crucifixion. Now, Caesarea is not Rome, but both cohorts were part of the same governmental system. We have no reason to think Cornelius was personally involved in the seizing of Jesus, but given his day job, he certainly could have been required to do so.
Here is what God is showing me: He is really powerful. He is really creative. And He has established hidden ones even in the midst of the inner circle of the enemy’s camp. Just when I might grow fainthearted over the latest terrorist threat, He reminds me that He has massive resources I cannot begin to imagine. Whole tribes of enemy warriors have come to fear God in a single heartbeat as He has opened their eyes to His warring angels posted to protect the intended target. So the lesson for me is don’t despair, don’t lose hope, don’t give up. Never for a moment think that God is not able. Remember Cornelius’ day job.
Prayer: Wow, Lord, I needed this awesome reminder of how great You are, how able You are to accomplish Your purposes. Lord, thank You for reminding me not to lose heart, but to keep plugging away at what You have said to do. I trust You Lord, because You are able, and You never change.