A Journey To Caesarea
Father, help me to see others the way that You see them. Open my heart to receive from Your Word today.
Read Acts 10:1–8
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 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!”
4 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. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
7 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. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
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.
ReflectNow there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 He saw in a vision openly, as it were about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him, Cornelius. 4 And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and fetch one Simon, who is surnamed Peter: 6 he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side. 7 And when the angel that spake unto him was departed, he called two of his household-servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; 8 and having rehearsed all things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
Cornelius lived, not surprisingly, in Caesarea, which was a new town built by the Romans for the Judean garrison. As a centurion, he held the equivalent rank of a senior non-commissioned officer in a modern army. He was “devout and God-fearing,” which means that while he had come to believe in Jehovah, he had not become a Jew. He was uncircumcised (11:3).
I have never knowingly seen an angel, but it’s hardly surprising that when Cornelius “distinctly” saw this messenger from God he was afraid (4). His reaction was the same as many others in Bible times when confronted by this awesome reality.
Joppa was about 30 miles away from Caesarea, so this was not a trivial journey for his companions to make—but Cornelius didn’t hesitate. As far as he was concerned God had given the order, and with military precision he carried it out.
This is one of several threads which weave together in time to create a brand new tapestry. God’s first covenant promise to Abraham was being fulfilled (Gen. 12:1–3), and the Christian church was about to find its true identity.
Pray for the groups of people you thought about at the start. Ask God for wisdom in making connections with them.
Loving God, speak to my heart. Stop me from doing anything that would exclude another from being welcomed to Your family.
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