Cornelius Arrested the Attention of God
Cornelius was a high ranking officer, a centurion of the Italian ban. He was a professional officer. Most commanded groups of centuries consisted of about 80 men in each unit. Some even had cohorts of soldiers at their call. A cohort was about 500 men equivalent to a modern military battalion. It took 10 cohorts to make up a legion. Cornelius was said to be a devout man. He showed deep religious feelings, very committed. He was a devoted man, sincere and ardent in character and disposition. He feared God with all his house. He gave alms and sought God continually. His diligence would not go unnoticed. For about the ninth hour of the same said day he saw a vision of an angel of God coming to him and saying, “Cornelius” as he looked upon him great fear engulfed him, yet with firmness he said, “what is it Lord?” The angel said your prayers and your alms have come up before me as a memorial before God. Cornelius had built up a monument not of stone or wood, but of giving and praying that had arrested the attention of God.
“Now send to Joppa and call for one Simon whose surname is Peter, he shall tell you what you ought to do.” When the angel finished talking he departed with Cornelius and left to finish the task that he was imparted with. So Cornelius called two of his house hold servants and a devout soldier that waited upon him continually. He declared unto them their instructions and they departed to Joppa. Now on the morrow as the three of them departed unto the city Peter was upon the housetop praying as he did each day about noon. As he prayed he fell into a trance, a half-conscious state some call day dreaming or meditation. He saw the heavens open and a certain vessel descending to him as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners and let down to the earth. Within the sheet were all manners of beasts and creeping things and fowls of the air. A voice saying, “Peter rise up kill and eat.” But Peter being a consecrated man said, “No Sir, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean in all my life.” Then the voice said the second time, “What God has cleansed call not common.” This was done three times, and then the vessel was received back up into heaven again.
While Peter thought upon the vision he had seen, the men which were sent form Cornelius had made it to Simon’s house and stood before the gate. The Lord was working on both ends to bring about his divine purpose. Now while Peter thought on the vision the Spirit said unto him, “Behold three men seek thee, arise and get down and go with them doubting nothing, I have sent them.” Then Peter went to the men who were sent from Cornelius and said, “It is me who you seek, why did you come? “ They said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man and one that fears God and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by a holy angel to send for you and hear you.”
Then after Peter and certain brothers left for Caesarea, Cornelius had waited for them. Upon arrival Peter opened his mouth and said of a truth, “that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that fears Him and works righteousness is accepted with Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, that He is Lord of all. This word I say was and is being published throughout all Judea and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power. Who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. God was with him and we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of Jews and in all Jerusalem. Who they slew and hung on a tree. Him, has God raised up the third day and showing himself openly. Yet not all, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even us, He has commanded us to preach unto the people and to testify that He is both judges of the quick and the dead, and that through his name, whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins.”
While Peter spake, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word and they all began to speak in tongues and magnify God. Peter said, “can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Then Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter prayed as well as the others. He left for Jerusalem and Cornelius and His house were among the first Gentiles to receive the Holy Ghost.