24 The following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up and said, “Stand up. I myself am also a man.” 27 While talking with him, he went in and found a large gathering of people. 28 Peter said to them, “You know it’s forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner, but God has shown me that I must not call any person impure or unclean. 29 That’s why I came without any objection when I was sent for. So may I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this hour, at three in the afternoon, I was praying in my house. Just then a man in dazzling clothing stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered in God’s sight. 32 Therefore send someone to Joppa and invite Simon here, who is also named Peter. He is lodging in Simon the tanner’s house by the sea.’ 33 So I immediately sent for you, and it was good of you to come. So now we are all in the presence of God to hear everything you have been commanded by the Lord.” — Acts 10:24-33
Listen, Obey, Share
by Trey Powell
Growing up, I can remember the first time my entire family came to our house to celebrate my birthday. Once my parents told me they were coming, I could not wait for my family to arrive so we could celebrate. My six-year-old self was running around the house, “helping” my parents clean up, and gathering them in the living room to wait for everyone’s arrival. I was so excited, and I could not wait to see what all my family had in store for me.
I cannot help but feel as though Cornelius experienced similar levels of excitement as he awaited the arrival of Peter. Just a few verses before this passage, Cornelius received a vision of an angel of the Lord commanding him to send for Simon Peter. Once he received this command, he immediately sprang into action, sending a group of men from his house to find Peter. As he waited for Peter to arrive, Cornelius “called together” all his relatives and friends so they too could hear what the Lord had to say to them through Peter.
I believe we as believers can learn a few things from the example of Cornelius in today’s passage.
- Cornelius was a centurion, an officer in the Roman army. He was a man with many responsibilities, and yet in the midst of all he had to do, he “always prayed to God” (Acts 10:2). In the midst of our busy lives, it can be hard to “make time for God.” However, it is crucial that we devote ourselves to Scripture, to prayer, and to worship of God. Without doing this, we will grow spiritually weak, and it will hinder our ability to listen and obey what the Lord is telling us to do. We must make time in our lives to hear from the Lord.
- Cornelius did not wait to do what he was commanded, but acted immediately. Many times, we wait to obey, weighing the cost of stepping out in faith. However, we must also count the cost of waiting or even refusing to obey. When we hear a word from the Lord, we must act in obedience without hesitation.
- Cornelius did not know what Peter was going to say, but he knew other people needed to hear it, so he invited his friends and family to wait with him. Many of us in the church (including myself) are unwilling to share with others what the Lord is doing in our lives. Whether we are embarrassed, or we simply view what we have to say as unimportant, we keep our spiritual lives to ourselves. This should never be the case! When the Lord speaks to us or works in our lives, we should eagerly share this with our Christian brothers and sisters. More than this, we as Christians should always seek to “call together” those around us who have not yet heard the truth of the gospel. When God speaks to us, we should eagerly share it with other people!
The story of Cornelius is one of unbridled excitement and unhindered obedience. I pray that we would experience this same level of excitement as we listen to the Lord, follow in obedience, and share the good news of Jesus Christ with the lost and searching.
- When you spend time with the Lord this week, make space to simply listen. Say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening,” and then listen. Write down what you believe the Lord is saying to you and reflect on that.
- Ask the Lord to reveal to you what people in your life you need to “gather together” in your home. If these are Christians, ask the Lord to use your time to edify the body of Christ. If these are non-Christians, ask the Lord to provide opportunities to have gospel conversations.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.