Daily Thought for: 22nd November

CORNELIUS (1)

Acts 10. 1-8

Acts chapter 10 is one of the crisis chapters of the book. It contains the conversion of Gentiles through the preaching of Peter. He was used of God to apply the key to the door of faith for the Jew in Acts chapter 2, and here used the same method for the Gentile. The Lord had given the keys in Matthew chapter 16. This chapter is the last of three to record outstanding conversions from the three branches of mankind. Of Ham, there had been the Eunuch, of Shem, there had been Saul, and now the centurion, a son of Japheth. Cornelius was like the first two, an upright man who carried great respect. 

His Credentials. He lived in the fear of God and prayed regularly. He was not a hypocrite but was an influence for good in his own household. He also was good to the poor. This cameo of his life and ways is quite remarkable when we consider his calling in life. He was a centurion serving under Herod Agrippa, the representative of Roman power in that district. But not only that, he was an officer of ‘the Italian band’, that is of a band made up of soldiers from Rome. It would be uncommon for such a man to have high moral qualities. God’s purpose was working, opening up the way for him to hear the gospel. His credentials could not fit him for heaven, but it seems that God recognized people who had an interest in their souls, and to whom the gospel should be preached. 

His Circumstances. Although all these good works could not save him, God knew his heart and thus we see the sovereign hand of God in his being brought into contact with Peter. Angelic ministry brought him a message from God—he and his household were to be given an opportunity to hear the gospel message, but they must continue to seek after God; thus the exhortation to ‘send men’. How good to note here the interest which God has in salvation. The name of the preacher, and the address where he was residing is given! It is interesting to see the activity in the household after the vision had been received; Cornelius called two household servants and a devout soldier. It seems that the features which marked Cornelius were characteristics of others within his household and military staff! 

 

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