Now there was a man in Caes·a·reʹa named Cornelius, a centurion in what was called the Italian unit.
Says that Cornelius was a centurion who commanded 100 men. Centurions had considerable social and military status, as well as wealth. Their pay was perhaps 16 times that of regular soldiers.
He was a devout man who feared God together with all his household, and he made many gifts of mercy to the people and made supplication to God continually. 3 About the ninth hour of the day. he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say: “Cornelius!”
Cornelius continually prayed to God and had his prayers answered. From this we learn that even if people maybe don’t know how to pray or what God’s name is, God will answer their prayers if they are earnestly seeking him and that angels are helping God’s servants to find them.
Peter lived with a tanner, an unclean profession. We should not look down on or avoid people because of their social status or job.
Cornelius soldier was “devout”, meaning he also had reverence for Jehovah. Cornelius apparently witnessed at his “place of work”, to his “co-workers” or subordinates.
When Peter was ordered to eat unclean animals, he protested. Jehovah graciously gave him a second and third chance before Peter changed his mind. Do we listen willingly to what Jehovah wants us to do even if it goes against our own preferences or habits?
Peter invited them and entertained them. Once he understood God’s will, he was quick to adapt to it’s new direction. Are we quick to adapt the new directions provided by the slave class or are we showing reluctance toward new understandings or organisational procedures?
Cornelius fell down before Peter as if before a God, but Peter humbly asked him to rise up. We must be aware not to give undue glory to men, neither in the world nor in the congregation.
While earlier prophets and also angels had accepted obeisance, Peter stopped Cornelius from rendering such to him, as did the angel in Revelation when John bowed down to him. Evidently Christ’s coming had brought in new relationships affecting standards of conduct toward others of God’s servants. He taught his disciples that “one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers … your Leader is one, the Christ” for it was in him that the prophetic figures and types found their fulfillment. Jesus was David’s Lord, the greater than Solomon, the prophet greater than Moses. The obeisance rendered those men prefigured that due Christ. Peter therefore rightly refused to let Cornelius make too much of him.
34: A literal rendering of Acts 10:34 says “God is not a taker of faces,” that is, he does not favor one face over another. “God is not partial.” By adopting God’s attitude and viewing everyone in our territory as being potentially acceptable to God, we will certainly succeed as his servants.
35: Gentiles were regarded by the Jew as unclean, with whom it was unlawful to have any friendly intercourse. They were the enemies of God and His people, to whom the knowledge of God was denied unless they became proselytes, and even then they could not be admitted to full fellowship. Jews were forbidden to counsel them, and if they asked about Divine things they were to be cursed. What a contrast to how Peter summarized what had happened on this day.