Acts 10:1,2—There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment. He was a devout man and feared God along with his whole household. He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people and always prayed to God.
It should not surprise us that Cornelius was God’s choice to first bring the gospel to the Gentiles. When we study his profile, it is inspiring and gives us a clear picture of what right looks like and thus why he was favored in God’s eyes. Cornelius was:
1. Righteous and devout. To be devout is to be pious, virtuous, moral, or sincere. Cornelius’ faithful devotion to God was evidenced through faithful prayer and principled values. It was while praying that an angel visited him (vs. 30). Peter later acknowledged in verse 35 that Cornelius’ righteousness was acceptable to God.
2. A God-fearer. Scripture clearly teaches from Genesis to Revelation that God expects to be revered. When people or countries are not God-fearing they are not blessed. We see this happening today in America. As the country turns its back on God, so He turns His back on the country so that evil flourishes and suffering abounds.
3. A great father and husband. His whole household feared God. It is apparent from Acts 10 that Cornelius led his family well.
4. Generous. Cornelius regularly gave to help the Jewish people—a remarkable thing in that he was a Roman citizen. Generous people are blessed people for they have learned that what really matters is not what we keep but what we give away. In verse five we learn that his prayers and acts of charity “have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
5. Obedient. As soon as the angel gave his instructions, Cornelius immediatelydispatched his men—sending them to Joppa to find Peter. He did not wait, he did not doubt, he acted.
6. A respected leader. Cornelius is described by those serving him as “an upright and God-fearing man, who has a good reputation with the whole Jewish nation . . .” This is a notable phrase because the Jews hated the Romans for occupying their land and were highly prejudiced against the Gentiles. For Cornelius to have a good reputation with them demonstrates that he was an amazing leader.
7. An includer. Rather than just hear what Peter had to say for himself, Cornelius gathered his relatives and close friends so that his house was packed with people who heard the gospel (vs. 24).
8. Humble. When Peter arrived, Cornelius “fell at his feet and worshiped him” (vs. 25). Peter quickly helped him up and shared that he also was a man—not an angel. But how amazing that a centurion, one who commanded 100 soldiers, and, who possessed authority over those under his jurisdiction, would bow before a Jew and pay homage.
9. A teachable learner. “So we are all present before God, to hear everything you have been commanded by the Lord” (vs. 33). After Peter proclaimed the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard his message. Cornelius’ open heart and desire to know the truth brought God’s acceptance and salvation.
Something to think about . . . in reveration!
Role modeling depends, in part, on observational learning: learning that takes place not by being taught, but merely by watching what someone else is doing.—Steven M. Southwick & Dennis S. Charney in Resilience
©2014 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)