Lesson Fourteen | Devotion #4: Cornelius
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader
Cornelius was a Roman Centurion who feared God. Most Romans believed in many different gods, but Acts chapter 10 tells us that Cornelius believed in the one true God. The Lord sends him a vision and in it tells him to send for Peter to come to his house. So he sends men to get Peter, and as the men were approaching the city, Peter has a vision as well. The details are very interesting, and I encourage you to read all of Acts chapter 10, but the basic message of the vision is found in verse 15. Acts 10:15 says, “And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’” Peter did not fully understand what God was saying to him until he returned with Cornelius’ men to Cornelius’ house. When Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house, he finds Cornelius, his relatives, and close friends all awaiting his arrival. It is at this point that Peter understands the vision from God.
Acts 10:34-36 says, “So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all).’”
Peter begins to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Up until this point, Jewish people had considered the gentiles unclean. However, God reveals to Peter that His Kingdom is for all people, and Peter responds by preaching right away to Cornelius and his friends and family. As Peter is preaching the Gospel, something amazing begins to happen.
Acts 10:44-48 says, “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.”
Everyone in the house who heard the Word was saved, the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them, they got baptized, and they began to proclaim the work that Christ had just done in their lives. This would have been such an amazing and powerful moment to be a part of for Cornelius. When we think about world changers in the Bible, Cornelius needs to be towards the top of the list for us Gentiles (anyone who is not Jewish). It was at the house of Cornelius that we see God pouring out His love to the Gentiles, and making it known to Peter that they needed to share the Gospel with everyone! The lesson that Peter learned is so powerful in our lives as well. God loves every single person on earth, and He desires for every single person to be saved. In this day and age hate is so rampant throughout our culture and our churches. We would rather be the one to judge someone, than love someone. Scripture tells us that God is the one who judges, and commands us to love one another. In Peter’s mind, the Gentiles were unclean people, and God had to reveal to Peter that He shows no partiality. Anyone who believes in the work of Christ and surrenders their life to Christ can be saved. The account of Cornelius shows us, “that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). We just need to be willing, as Peter was, to share the hope of Christ with all those people. There are people that the world deems as “unclean,” and there are people that the church deems as “unclean,” but we cannot avoid those people. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, they can all be made holy in the eyes of God.