Event(s): Peter meets Cornelius and preaches to Cornelius’ household; the Holy Spirit Falls
Today’s Text: Acts 10:24-48
Tomorrow’s Text: Acts 11:1-18
Peter had been summoned to Caesarea, and now he was on his way. Later in Acts 11:12, we find that he took six other men with him on this journey. Cornelius, by this time, had also gathered a crowd of his closest friends and relatives. In today’s text, we are given a front-row seat to what took place when these men met. Strangers, over 30 miles apart, brought together through prayer and the word of God – a meeting orchestrated and facilitated by the Holy Spirit.
Can you imagine? You’re in a time of prayer and God reveals to you that there is someone He wants you to go to, across town or in a neighboring city. Someone you don’t know, have never spoken to, of a completely different culture, and of an occupation that would otherwise be somewhat threatening. It’s easy to understand why so many say faith is spelled R-I-S-K. As we read this account, most of us can’t help but put ourselves into the story and wonder, how would we respond?
Acts 10:24 “Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.” Faith is most active when it is accompanied by ACTion. Cornelius didn’t have a clue who Peter was; he had never met him and certainly didn’t know he was one of the leading apostles. But at God’s word, he acted in faith, gathering his family and friends to wait for the arrival of his new friend and hear what God would speak to them through Peter.
Acts 10:29 “for what reason have you sent for me?” Most of the time there is a huge gap between what we have faith for and what we’re believing for. Notice what Cornelius didn’t do with that gap – he didn’t make something up or try to fill this gap with what he thought Peter should talk about or do. Cornelius was a strong, assertive leader – he had to be to do what he did for a living – but he didn’t start throwing in his own opinions. He didn’t have this meeting “all planned out.” He made ready, brought others to experience what the Lord would do, but then he abided in the tension of the faith gap. He simply told Peter what he knew and what he had experienced in prayer, and then left the rest up to God to fill the gaps.
Acts 10:34 “In truth, I perceive that God shows no partiality.” The word used for partiality is the Greek word “prosopolepte” and means a receiver of face, one who takes sides, showing favoritism, exhibiting bias, showing discrimination, showing partiality, treating one person better than another. This is simply not God’s nature, and neither should it be ours. God wants everyone. The message of the Gospel is for all who will come. Because of Jesus, there are no barriers and there are no limits placed to what He gives of Himself to us. As the MSG Bible says in John 3:34 “don’t think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces.”
Acts 10:44 “while he was still speaking..the Holy Spirit fell upon [them].” What ready hearts! There was no need to call them to repentance; there was no need to lay on hands so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. They already had a sensitivity towards God, but now, through the revelation of who Jesus was, they were formally introduced. As soon as he gave them enough information to trust in Jesus Christ, they did. Immediately, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, filling them and baptizing them.
Acts 10:46 “they head them speak with tongues and magnify God” “That tongues are at least one means of giving evidence to the initial baptism of the Holy Spirit is unmistakably clear here.” –New Spirit Filled Life Bible
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?”…James 2:14a NLT
Faith is rooted in belief, but it is active and alive when accompanied by action. Not that we try and take it upon ourselves to make something happen, but our acts of readiness show that our faith is active. Indeed, they make our faith that much stronger. Cornelius is a brilliant example of this. While he waited for God to bring Peter, he readied himself and his household in anticipation of the promise.
What are you believing God for right now? What word or promise are you holding near to your heart? What would it look like for you to activate your faith with an action step in anticipation of what you believe He will bring to pass?