Acts 10:1 Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort,2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.3 About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!”4 And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.5 Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter;6 he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.”7 When the angel who was speaking to him had left, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were his personal attendants,8 and after he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
The above scripture is a story of how God changed Peter's way of looking at others and saved the first gentile in the process. As you can see in the above verses God appeared through an angel to a Gentile named Cornelius. Cornelius was a God-fearing man who led his family to be the same way and he actually gave alms to the Jewish community. So he was widely known by the Jews and highly esteemed by many. God answers the prayers of Cornelius and sets up an appointment with the gospel. The other person in that appointment was Peter, a Jew. Jews and Gentiles? THEY DON'T MIX.....AT ALL. But God had a great plan for this man Cornelius, and this man Peter, and those plans unfolded in the next verses.
God had to do a change order in the life of Peter the Jew to be willing to go to the Gentiles with the gospel. The following scriptures reveal how God changed Peter's mind, and heart, and set Him on a new path with a new attitude. Acts10: 9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;11 and he *saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!”14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
Of course, Peter argued with God for a bit, but that argument was swallowed up by the perfect truth God was telling Peter and Peter's life and attitude changed. All of his past prejudices against the Gentiles fell to the side and bowed to the calling of God to preach the gospel to ALL. In verse 17 and 18 Peter is still reeling from this encounter, this vision, and the verses are as follows 17 Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate;18 and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there.19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” So the Spirit says "I sent them" and the rest is history. Peter realizes all of this is God's plan and at the same time a group of Gentiles are at the gate looking for him. Talk about timing!!! So Peter tells them this in verses 21-23 Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?”22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.”23 So he invited them in and gave them lodging.
So here is the way it has gone. God sends a vision to Cornelius telling him he needs to send some men to travel 39 mile from Caesarea to Joppa to get Peter. Then God shows a vision to Peter that rocks his Jewish teachings and upsets his whole apple cart with a new way of thinking, Peter agrees to go with the men from Cornelius and they set off for Caesarea. God's plan is to have Peter share this message of Jesus with this Gentile and all who are wiling to listen. So, basically God resets the full history of the teachings of Peter and take his whole background and changes everything. And Peter was willing to be changed because his life purpose was to fulfill the commission given to him by Jesus. In John 21 we see the following commission given to Peter by Jesus. John 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.”16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.
If we truly love Jesus we will love those who need Jesus. All who need Jesus..... No prejudice, no restrictions, or holding out on those who we have something against. Keep in mind...If we really love Jesus that will happen. He asked Peter three times just to make sure Peter got it and Peter's reaction to the new way of thinking per his vision on the housetop shows he meant it when he answered Jesus. It is time for all of us to follow through on our surrender to Jesus and not exclude anyone from hearing the gospel. The rest of this story is finished in Part 2 which I will post tomorrow.
The Pilgrimage continues.....