Opening Prayer

Please show me something new in your Word today, Father, that will deepen my understanding of your purposes for my life.

Read ACTS 10:1–8

Cornelius Calls for Peter

10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

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New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


May God allow us catch the truly dramatic nature of this story and its surprises.

Think Further

It will help us to read the story of Peter and Cornelius as a single drama in four acts. The first act is In the House of a gentile God-seeker. Without any preparation, we are suddenly introduced to a Roman centurion and his family and are provided with an astonishing description of their way of life. To the surprise, no doubt, of Luke’s first readers, it presents a picture of a gentile family that subverts Jewish assumptions concerning such people. The entire family are described as ‘devout and God-fearing’ (v. 2); they pray together and give generously to needy people, showing the classic Hebrew marks of godliness. Furthermore, the encounter between Cornelius and ‘an angel of God’ (v. 3) serves to underline this man’s habitual practice of prayer. His response to the divine visitation closely parallels that of Ananias in the previous chapter!1

There are yet more surprises: the centurion is assured that his fervent and regular prayers have been heard and are about to be answered in a manner that will bring him and his people to a new knowledge of God. The theological implications of this scene are enormous and have obvious application with regard to our attitudes toward people whose external appearance might tempt us to regard them as beyond the pale. How often do we operate with presuppositions concerning other people which, had we gotten to know them as they truly are, would be exposed as false. The day before this note was written, I crossed a parking lot at dusk just as an Asian taxi driver stepped from his car, spread a prayer mat on the bare concrete and, without the slightest embarrassment, began his sunset intercessions. Are we, like Simon Peter, challenged by fervent devotions where we least expect them?


Is your prayer life one in which you would stop everything to talk to God?

Closing prayer

Lord God, help me to see people with your eyes, each one in need of your grace and mercy, each one someone with whom I can share the love you offer in Jesus.

Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by kingstar

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