Sunday, November 08, 2009

Cornelius and Peter asked and God Answered
(Acts 10:1-33)

Ever had a dream that seemed so real that it still affected you after you awoke? What if you were living at the time of the New Testament and received a vision from God calling to you act on faith? Would you believe? Would you commit to whatever you were called to do? These very questions were pondered by the Apostle Peter and a Roman centurion named Cornelius.

Cornelius lived in Caesarea, a city in Israel near the Mediterranean coast, mid-way between the present day cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. Cornelius and all of his family where devout and feared God, yet they did not know Jesus. One day, while Cornelius was fasting and praying, an angel of God visited him in a vision. Rather than simply revealing Jesus to Cornelius, God called on Cornelius to act on faith by sending servants to find Peter in the town of Joppa, known today as Yafo or Jaffa.

The day after Cornelius’s faith got a workout, the same thing happened to Peter. While he was praying, he became hungry and fell into a trance. God gave Peter a vision, presenting him with many food possibilities that all were considered unclean by Jewish law. Peter refused them, but God warned Peter to not call unclean anything which God had made. Peter was given this vision three times, just to make sure that he got the point: nothing that God made was unclean. Shortly after the vision, to give Peter one more nudge, the Holy Spirit told Peter that messengers were looking for him and that he should go with them. Like Cornelius, God was calling on Peter to act on faith.

The next day, Peter traveled with the messengers back to Caesarea. Though Jewish tradition said that Jews were not to associate with a Gentile, let alone entering the home of a Gentile, Peter went straight into Cornelius’s home and told him and his family all about Jesus. Through the prayers of Cornelius and Peter, and through their exercising of their faith, Jesus was preached to the Gentiles.

In our prayers, we may ask God to use us for His glory, but do we realize what He may ask of us? And when God does respond to our prayers, will we be ready to exercise our faith?

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