FOLLOW THE LEADER
Lord, thank You for including everybody as eligible for salvation.
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. 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.
‘… go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:19).
Luke switches location once more in order to introduce us to a centurion in Caesarea. Not satisfied with the state cults and mystery religions of Roman culture, Cornelius has been attracted to Judaism. He is devout, God-fearing, generous, and prayerful, but has not been circumcised. He is not a proselyte, a Jewish convert. He is, significantly, a Gentile. He also appears to have no knowledge of the identity of Simon Peter, the man whom the angel tells him he must invite.
The sole initiator of this appointment is God. Neither Cornelius nor Peter has an inkling of the other’s existence. Yet the centurion is an example of ‘good soil’ for the seed of God’s Word (Luke 8:4–15; see also Matt 13:1–23; Mark 4:1–12). He is open to whatever God may introduce him to. It’s almost as if he’s been waiting for the next installment of God’s revelation and so, after a short consultation, he sends three of his staff.
Often our evangelistic enterprises consist of widespread scattering of the message in the hope that a little will fall on good ground. This doesn’t sound like a good farming technique. Before sowing, the farmer will assess the landscape for potential, prepare the best ground, and spread the fertilizer. Only then will the sowing begin. Actually, God is already preparing people to receive His word. In a world where men and women are increasingly conscious of quality-of-life issues, personally, socially, and environmentally, we need to learn to recognize where this is taking place and to accept His invitation to go there. This is good soil. Noticeably, both Cornelius and Peter are engaged in disciplined prayer as the link is made. They are both ready to follow God’s lead because they are listening closely to Him.
List six people you know who are searching for truth, justice, peace of mind, purpose, satisfaction, or direction. Ask God what your relationship with each of them might become.
Lord, Your ability to connect two people who do not know each other and use them for Your purposes is amazing.
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