Acts 10:1-8: Beside they sea.
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. NIV
‘At this point the Church took a new departure, and the gospel broke over the walls of Jewish exclusiveness and was preached for the first time to pure-blooded Gentiles.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.489.
We must not imagine, when we read the story of Cornelius, that he had somehow earned salvation. Rather he was to hear a message that would that bring him to know Jesus (36).But Cornelius was a ‘God fearer’. He was attracted to the Jewish faith, and had adopted certain of its characteristics, such as almsgiving and the set hours of prayer. Now what he knew theologically needed to be brought to completion. God knew him; knew all about him. He knew where he was, and he knew the precise location of His ‘special agent’ Peter, and He pulled the necessary strings to get them to meet.
Somebody described how God works ‘at both ends of the line’ to cause the right people to meet in the right place at the right time. Not only are there remarkable examples of this principle to be found in the Bible, but experience shows it to be true.
As a Roman ‘’centurion’’, Cornelius was a powerful man. You may be surprised to find such a person seeking God (see also the mention of ‘’a devout soldier’’ in verse 7). But the Lord has His people in unexpected places, and even before they are converted, the Holy Spirit is at work in hearts. Sometimes you can see this, and it is a privilege to catch a glimpse of God mysteriously at work, even though you can’t understand everything that is going on.
After hearing God speak to him, Cornelius responded promptly. What has the Lord said to you and what do you need to be getting on with? Why drag your feet?