Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Please, Lord, Send Cornelius


Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, (Acts 10:17 KJV)

After our Lord’s resurrection, there were miracles happening that caused the gospel to spread quickly and with a fervor borne by eyewitnesses. In Acts 9, we read of Jesus’ appearance to Saul and the resulting change in his life, but in Acts 10, we read of a miracle that I’ve seen happen in lives around me – a message is heard, and an explanation is given.

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: (Acts 10:1-5 KJV)

Here we have a devout man – we are not told he’s a follower of Jesus, but he prayed to God always. And, God sent a messenger to him. As with most others in this same situation, he was afraid, but he followed the instructions and sent to Joppa for Peter.

As those sent approached Joppa, Peter was given a vision, too:

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. (Acts 10:9-16 KJV)

When God speaks the same thing three times, I will not ignore it!! If it’s not clear, I’ll be in prayer for clarification. If it is clear, I’ll be following instructions (with some trepidation, I must admit.) According to my first verse – Peter’s understanding wasn’t clear – even though it was shown three times. But, why think about it when Cornelius’ men showed up and he was to return with them? Upon his arrival, it became clear:

And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (Acts 10:28 KJV)

That’s why I’m asking the Lord to send us our own Cornelius – give us the message and teach us what we need to learn to serve at our best.

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