On a Christian radio programme the presenter asked which character in the bible, apart from the Lord Jesus, we would most like to have a chat with. I couldn’t think of anyone at the time, but, having read Acts, Chapter 10, I now know who it would be. I am so intrigued about how Cornelius came to be praying to the true and living God when he was a Roman soldier and not a convert to the Jewish faith.
Cornelius was probably the second Gentile to come to faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour and Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach, as He was, and is, known by Jewish believers. Commentators say that the Ethiopian court official who met Philip on the desert road was the first. But I am not sure why this African man had been to Jerusalem to worship and was reading the book of Isaiah in his chariot. He sounds like a foreigner who was a convert to the Jewish faith to me. Perhaps I would like to hear his testimony too.
Peter preached the most anointed sermon ever in the house of Cornelius. It was focussed on Jesus and who He was and what He did. As Peter said that ‘everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name’, and then ‘the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word’. They started ‘speaking in tongues and extolling God’. Peter and his companions were astonished to witness such an amazing event. But God often does unexpected things. He’s the God of surprises.
I find it exciting to hear reports of what God is doing today by His Holy Spirit all around the world, especially in places where it is illegal to share your faith and dangerous to even speak of Jesus. I have always known that the internet can be used for spreading propaganda, evil ideologies and false ideas, but I have recently been surprised to learn just how much the Holy Spirit has been using that channel too.
There are huge numbers of people finding out the good news of Jesus and what He has done and how they can believe in Him and receive forgiveness of sins in His name as they tune into satellite broadcasts in their own language by Christian missionaries. They live in countries where church services or Christian meetings are forbidden, and bibles in their language are banned.
They are finding that there is no other name given to man by which we must be saved and that coming into a personal relationship with Jesus as Saviour and Lord brings a peace they have never known before. Like Cornelius they may have a vision or a dream and are led to someone who knows Jesus and who can disciple them and help them to grow in the Christian faith.
Dear loving, heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus, and for the Holy Spirit. I am hungry and thirsty for more of Your wonderful surprises. I thank You that the acts of Your Holy Spirit are still continuing today, and I ask You to show me how to be more open to what You are doing in this world today. Amen.
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