For a good, First Century Jew, I’m sure there was not much more detestable than going into the home of a Gentile. But in today’s Bible reading, Peter did just that.
Both Peter and Cornelius had a vision from God and both acted on what they heard. Cornelius sent men to where Peter was and Peter had to go with them to Cornelius’ home. But Peter’s vision — given three times — emphasized that what God has made clean is clean, and you aren’t to question it. So when invited, Peter went.
A little background: Cornelius is called a Centurion. A Roman Centurion was a commander in the Roman Army. One hundred Roman soldiers reported to him. So can you imagine the influence that he had for the cause of Jesus Christ when he was saved?
Cornelius’ men escorted Peter and some other men to Cornelius’ home. When Peter entered, Cornelius bowed to worship Peter and was quickly rebuked; Peter wanted him to realize that he was no different than any other man. (Acts 10:26) But can you imagine what it looked like for a Roman Centurion to bow down before a Jew? Wow!
As Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and everyone else who had gathered in Cornelius’ home. (Acts 10:44) Dr. Luke doesn’t tell us how many there were. He doesn’t tell us if it was just Cornelius’ family, or maybe there was a group of his soldiers, too. Regardless, everyone there responded to the move of the Holy Spirit, was saved and baptized.
Those who were saved asked Peter to stay for a few days. I’m sure they wanted to hear more. If they were soldiers, I’m sure they had a lot of Gentile-based questions for this Jew. And I’m sure that seeing Gentiles brought to faith in Christ caused Peter to ask a lot of questions, more of himself and God than the Gentiles who had just been saved.
God wants us to tell other people about Jesus. He has no other plan to reach the lost. Think about that! If anyone is to be saved, they have to have contact with a Christian who can explain the Gospel message to them. And like Peter, we must be willing to go, regardless of where that is. And regardless of whom. Today’s Bible reading makes it clear that the Gospel message is for all kinds of people.
Are you ready to share your faith with anyone anywhere? If you’re not sure of what the Gospel message is and how to explain it to someone else, take a look at this video. Then you’ll have a guide for a Gospel conversation with someone.