Acts 10:23b-33: The essence of a meeting.
“23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.’ 27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?’ 30 Cornelius answered: ‘Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, “Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.” 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” NIV
Someone pointed out that Peter must have realised that something significant was happening – or was about to happen – and that it would be good to have other witnesses on hand (23b). As Peter made the lengthy journey to see Cornelius, he went in a spirit of deep humility (25, 26) He was also honest about his previous prejudices, and told how God had dealt with his heart (28). He didn’t try to make himself look any better than he was. I believe the words in (33) express the essence of a Christian meeting. Note:
▪ The expectancy: ‘’Now we are all here in the presence of God…’’ Is that the spirit with which we gather together? It ought to be
▪ The availability: ‘’…to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.’’ It may not always suit us, but we are ready to hear it and do something about it.
▪ The courtesy: ‘’…it was good of you to come.’’ I love that! It seems to me that common courtesy is not so common as it used to be. First and foremost we come together to meet with God and to hear His Word. But we do gather together. It is also a meeting with one another, and it does matter how we treat people. Courtesy oils the wheels of human relationships.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, please help me to care about my friends and relatives enough to want them to hear your Word (24).