This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 10:24-33, about Peter the apostle going, by God’s directive, to the house of Cornelius a Gentile.
Peter Visits Cornelius the Gentile
¶ "On the next day they entered into Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up! I myself am also a man.” As he talked with Cornelius, Peter went in and found many gathered together."(Acts 10:24-27).
Peter comes to Cornelius. It is interesting that Cornelius was not sent to Peter, but Peter to Cornelius. Perhaps God was looking out not only for Cornelius, but for his household and close friends, who were also wishing to hear Peter’s message. It could also be that God was making Peter accept the Gentiles in practice, not just in principle, by sending him to a Gentile’s house.
Joppa to Caesarea. On the journey from Joppa to Caesarea, Peter was accompanied not only by the three men from Cornelius, but also six brethren from Joppa (cf Acts 11:12). That made a party of ten to safely travel together. Joppa is roughly 50km from Caesarea. Probably they made the journey on foot, because they started one day and finished the next (Acts 10:23-24). On horses, they could have made it in one day.
Cornelius worships Peter. When Peter came into the house, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. Peter refused this worship. The only man people should worship is Jesus Christ, because he is also God (1John 5:20).
¶ "Peter said to those gathered, “You yourselves know that it is thought unlawful for a Jewish man to visit or associate with one of another nation. But God has shown me that I shouldn't call any person unholy or unclean. Therefore I came without objection when I was sent for. I ask therefore, why did you send for me?” "(Acts 10:28-29).
The formalities. Peter has been brought to this house to teach the gathered Gentiles the message of the gospel. However, Peter is only now being initiated into this ministry. This is a new experience for Peter. Before he does any preaching, he wishes two things to be established in the hearing of the gathering. Firstly, from himself, he offers what amounts to an apology in view of his new understanding that God cares as much for Gentiles as he does for Jews. Secondly, from Cornelius, Peter asks for a formal statement of the reason for asking him to come.
¶ "Cornelius said, “Four days ago, I was fasting until this hour, and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I was praying in my house. Behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing. He said, 'Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your gifts to the needy are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call for Simon, also called Peter. He lodges in the house of Simon a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.' Therefore I sent for you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God to hear all things that God has commanded you to say.” "(Acts 10:30-33).
It was good of you. Cornelius briefly recounts events leading up to this meeting. He then states the reason for the assembly. But in between he adds, “It was good of you to come.” This accepts Peter’s apology, with a commendation of Peter’ willingness to act contrary to ingrained prejudice.
Here to hear. Cornelius says, “We are all here present in the sight of God to hear all things that God has commanded”. Not every crowd in a house is ready to listen to God’s message through Jesus. But it can happen. When it does, God can do wonderful things.
Did Cornelius Contribute?
Something to think about...
Who decided Cornelius would be such a good man that God singled him out for special attention?
Who decided that Cornelius would obey the angel’s instructions and send for Peter?
Who decided that Cornelius would gather together his friends and relatives to hear Peter’s word from God?
Did Cornelius in any way contribute to his own salvation and that of his family and friends?
We know certainly that God contributed, and without God’s contribution Cornelius could not have been saved, despite all his goodness.
But did Cornelius contribute? If so, could he have been saved without that contribution?