Daily Truth Bible Study Acts 10:24-48
Last time, we saw the messengers of Cornelius arrive in Joppa to find Peter. Cornelius had seen a vision where an angel told him to send for Peter and where to find him. Much is happening here. A Roman Centurion and a gentile is being saved. This is huge! God is saving a man who is functioning inside a corrupt political/military government and a pagan gentile culture. And not only that, God is teaching Jewish Christians an unbelievable truth about God’s plan: Gentiles will be saved and will be equal to Jews in God’s kingdom! Unheard of and unbelievable!
I am using John MacArthur’s commentary on Acts for guidance in this study. MacArthur notes that a milestone in the Church’s history is reached when the two worlds collide. Peter and six of his fellow Jewish believers are going to see the unseeable, learn the unknowable and experience the unbelievable.
Cornelius had not been sitting around buffing his nails while his servants were gone to fetch Peter. He had prepared a gathering of friends and relatives. Why? To hear what Peter would tell them.
Cornelius obviously valued what Peter would tell him and his relatives upon arrival. After all, Peter was the leader of the Church. He was the top guy in God’s blossoming group of believers in Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself had announced to Peter his responsibility for leadership of the group. And this guy was coming to see Cornelius!
This was not a political power display however. Cornelius was not trying to impress his friends. He had called everyone together because he expected Peter to tell them something important from God. Afterall, an angel had told him to send for Peter. Cornelius wanted his family and friends to benefit from knowing God. Anyone who knows God should have the desire for others to know as well. Cornelius was in the process of moving from death to life. His concern for others is a proof of this occurence.
God was doing the work of transformation in Cornelius. This conversion would likely cost Cornelius his life as the Romans were not charitable toward the Jews and certainly not toward the Christians. Roman soldiers were killed if they ever got out of line with the rules and regs of military operation. Cornelius would either have to leave the Roman territory or die. However, this is apparently not a concern for him. It is not even mentioned in the text! The important thing to keep in mind is that God is saving his soul! This is far more important than preserving his temporary condition.
This truth must have entered his mind prior to inviting his friends and relatives over to hear Peter speak. He was caught in a paradox that many would experience and still face today. He chose to expose the others to eternal salvation even though it could cost them their lives. Cornelius had everything in proper perspective.
In Mark 8, Jesus addresses this very issue. He compares to outcomes of preserving one’s life now versus giving one’s life away for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Cornelius made the correct choice. What choice will you make?