“About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” Acts 10:3 NKJV
In the beginning, God created everything, and you and me. He visited us in the garden and had a personal relationship with us, a friendship with mankind. The curse of sin, which has a price tag of death, came upon the earth thanks to the devil’s trickery and changed everything. Although nothing can separate man from the love of God, sin does physically separate us from God. God created us to commune with Him and the enemy knew sin would destroy that bond. So, God created hell to punish the devil and his demons. The enemy knows it is his punishment, but he plans to take as many humans with him as possible to continue to hurt God. Because God created heaven where he can be reunited with people. Well, people needed help to overcome the enemy so God sent laws and formulas for worship and sacrifice that should point people into a position of acting in love. And the enemy attacked it over time and twisted it until it became punitive. But God so loved us that He then sent His only son, Jesus, to break the curse of sin over mankind by bringing it down into the grave, paying the required price for it, and then conquering it by rising again! Jesus ascended to heaven after 40 days. So that we know through Him we can access a relationship with The Father. God made a way to reconcile with mankind and commune and have fellowship with them again! This is GOOD NEWS.
God also created us with free will. Just as we do not want to be married or in a relationship with someone who is forced and manipulated to be in the relationship (we do not want a partner who is chained and a prisoner to us), God also wants us to freely choose Him. Or we can choose to believe the devil’s lies and go to the devil’s punishment – hell. It is our choice.
I know this sounds like a children’s story. It is simple, moral, and almost imaginative. God made it simple so that even children can believe and be saved from the wrath to come. God wishes that no one parishes. He wants us to at least give a relationship with Him an honest try – and see that He is good. He says you will find Him if you repent and seek Him!
Now imagine if you will what it could be like to have your best friend be the creator of the universe, all-knowing, all-powerful, having all wealth, and super generous – not like a genie in a bottle granting wishes, but a friend with mutual respect and trust and love, who is willing to use His resources to help you. He is willing to talk to you can since he can see ahead, he can prepare you, position you, and protect you from all the craziness in this world. Oh, and all that crazy? It is the enemy knowing his time is short and working very hard to destroy people and distract them from being reunited with God.
It feels like just yesterday, I was crying laying on my floor, exhausted from trying to fix the mess I made. My sin and poor choices caused broken hearts and broken friendships and broken families and despair and death… yes, I made a huge mess of my life. As I lay there with no way I could fix anything, nor could I go on like that – God reached out to me and made me feel like He still loved me and was ready to help me through it. I had tried God before and it did not seem to work out the way I expected, how could He help me this time? As I thought I realized the last time I treated Him like a genie in a lamp and not as a loving and kind Father and Friend. So I looked up and shook my fists and said – fine! Ok! I surrender! I give up and will do things your way! Things can’t get any worse. BUT!! You MUST be a real God. You MUST be whom the Bible says you are! You must be an ever-present help! You MUST be the: I AM! You MUST be the God of fire shut up in my bones! I expect to see the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, demons cast out, and addiction destroyed in people’s lives starting with mine!!! I expect life and relationship!
It is now years later and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS! I have seen miracles. I have heard His voice. I have experienced Him personally. Oh, and I have to also put in the work because relationships go both ways. Not works like doing good things to earn heaven – that is NOT how this works. I have to put the work into the relationship, you know like talking to Him (because He talks back), spending time with Him (because we both enjoy being in each other’s presence), reading His word (I love learning about his stories and getting to know Him, He already knows me and this is how I can learn of Him), and worshiping Him (because He is faithful and just and worthy!) You know putting the work in as in keeping up on my side of the relationship.
In this world of lies – this simple truth is hard to understand. We can have a relationship with the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit.
Do you want to know the truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was a whirlwind of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. I was lost and I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choices. Then I found Jesus, and truth while lying on my floor crying that day. He challenged me to accept Him, trust Him and follow Him and I challenged Him to be who He says He is – I found peace and deliverance from sin.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and a relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to you. It becomes the two-way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me, through a real personal relationship, to grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus, I pray ~ Amen
If you have said this life-changing prayer and want a relationship with God, please reach out to me. You can reach me in the comment section here (comments need approvals so you can use it as an email to me and I will not publish/approve it), or you can PM me on Facebook or DM me on Instagram. I do not always have instant access to my accounts, but I will respond when I check them. I would like to follow up and let you know the next steps to forming a healthy relationship.
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your Word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your Word and our sound mind. And please keep us, bless us, shine your face upon us, pour your grace over us, and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is found in the Book of Acts, chapter 10, at verse 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Cornelius Sends a Delegation
10 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian [a]Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave [b]alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About [c]the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”
So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He[d] will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.
9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about [e]the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has [f]cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
Summoned to Caesarea
17 Now while Peter [g]wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.
19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
21 Then Peter went down to the men [h]who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?”
22 And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” 23 Then he invited them in and lodged them.
On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
Peter Meets Cornelius
24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”
30 So Cornelius said, [i]“Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your [j]alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. [k]When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”
Preaching to Cornelius’ Household
34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the [l]children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom [m]they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission[n] of sins.”
The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And [o]those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Acts 10:1-48 NKJV
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
“But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” Luke 9:55-56 KJV
Today we have a long reading. We’ll dig into it more next week. But please make sure you read it through. This is one of the most important chapters in the Bible, second to the work of the cross.
You see Jesus told the disciples to go ye therefore into ALL nations. However, Jesus was the Jew’s Messiah and salvation was only for the Jews, up to this point. Well, Jesus kept saying it was for the Jews first.
In hindsight, we can see how Jesus really was here for ALL mankind and how Gentiles were incorporated into his ministry and life and one actually received healing – possibly a few more, but theologians have debated as to if they were Jews or Gentiles.
Let’s take a look.
First, we have the Centurion’s Servant.
First of all the centurion would have had to of been a Roman and not a Jew to hold that title. There were Jews who were also Romans, like Paul. So it is possible for one to rise up in the ranks, but it was very unlikely and they’d have to forsake Jewish custom and law. But, note that it was not the centurion who needed healing, but his servant.
There were many ways a Jew or anyone could become a servant to a Roman official. If was a means of paying off debt, it was an opportunity for a better life for a poor person, it could be a punishment for a crime, and many other reasons. In Roman society, a man could make his mistress a servant and even marry her as a servant even though he may already be married. And children of that relationship would also be servants. The truth is we really do not know if the Centurion’s servant was a Jew or gentile.
Many speculate that since he came for the Jews, the servant was a Jew. Here you can read and decide for yourself:
“5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.” Matthew 8:5-13
The next healing that is questioned is the demoniac (or two demoniacs, depending on which gospel you read). You see it was in a gentile area of the Gergesenes. You may recall they had a terrible storm by sea and the disciples thought they were taken off course by accident. It was a nightmare scenario that lead to another nightmare scenario – because they land ashore in Gentile territory (and Gentiles are unclean) next to a cemetery (and the dead are unclean) and then encounter demoniacs (also unclean). To make things worse some versions of the gospel say the demoniac was a self-cutter and had open wounds and bloody scabs which were also unclean. BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE!!! The local economy was to raise pigs which are also unclean and just so happen to be grazing there next to the cemetery!
This was a nightmare to a Jew! And so some theologians speculate that the demoniac(s) could not have been Jews, while others speculate that they were possessed, so why would they care if they were in the nightmare, they were already in a nightmare inside themselves.
Here is the story according to Matthew, for you to read and decide if these men were Jews or not:
“28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
30 Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”
32 And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.
33 Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.” Matthew 8:28-34
In neither of those two scenarios did Jesus pause before healing or delivering. In both, He straight away performed the miracle. And both of these happened before this third example.
This next example is the ONLY one where we know for certain that the mother and child were Gentiles. Jesus paused. Actually, He turned the mother away saying he would not do the miracle because miracles were the children’s bread. The mother’s faith gets Jesus’s attention and He performs the miracle. Making her the only documented healing of a gentile.
Take a read-through for yourself:
“21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”
23 But He answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Matthew 15:21-28
So up to this point, the Messiah and salvation were ONLY for the Jews – and healings and miracles were mostly for the Jews. Therefore the passage we read today, where Cornelius’ household is able to be saved is amazing. This was a new and fresh revelation! But in hindsight, throughout the scriptures, you can see where gentiles have always been welcomed in and were even in Jesus’s bloodline.
Today’s passage was the turning point and missionary journeys took on a whole new turn.
It was at this point in history that they started to learn that Gentiles all over were already being converted by believing when they heard the gospel message. The Ethiopian Treasurer spread the gospel down into Africa and many were saved and the news was finally coming back to them. And when Paul went on his missionary journeys he met many believers. The word of the gospel spread faster than those disciples! The same ones who were told to GO Ye Therefore – yeah… now that gentiles are included and after having been scattered by Stephen’s death – now they will finally GO!!! And they will go into all the earth and will make such a huge impact that 2000 plus years later I am here studying it and you are on the internet seeking it!
Please join us tomorrow as we continue to “go” through the book of Acts.
Let me remind you that I am participating in a call for fasting in June, for the United States of America. You do not need to be an American to pray for this country. It is in dire need of God to intervene as it has become so corrupt. If you’d like to join the fast, get more information on it, or just support it and you have Facebook, just go to: https://www.facebook.com/PrayerFastForTheUSA
Are you interested in learning more about fasting? Join the Facebook group, designed to be interactive and give you all the Bible verses on fasting, all the types of fasting, and how to fast! In the group are specialists to help us along the way, like the creator of The Fasting Protocol (fasting for health and weight loss; which is part of fasting and important to know about – He can also speak to fasting in a healthy manner). Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/509149707741862
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Thank you for reading in 2023 – a Year of Grace and Provision
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!