Sunday – April 19, 2020
Word On Worship – Sunday – April 19, 2020
About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?”
Luke introduces us to a centurion named Cornelius. Luke’s description of Cornelius is similar to that of the centurion Luke has described in Luke 7:1-10. Both are devout, God-fearing men. Both are known for their prayers and for their acts of charity. Cornelius seems to have communicated his faith to those in his household because they appear to share his faith. When the angel appears to Cornelius, it is not because this man lacks faith, but like the centurion in Luke 7, would not have even considered asking a Jew into his home. Thus, God had to prepare both Cornelius and Peter for this breech of tradition.
At just the right moment in time, God spoke to Peter in a vision. This vision, like that of Cornelius, came at a time when the recipient of the vision was in prayer. It was lunch time, and Peter was hungry. I can almost hear Peter say, “I’m hungry enough to eat a horse!” What came next would cause Peter to lose his appetite. The meal was still being prepared and so Peter used this time to pray. In his vision, Peter was instructed to kill and eat various kinds of animal life. Some of the animals were clearly unclean according to Jewish food laws and some, such as the “reptiles,” were also totally unappealing as food.
You can imagine Peter’s bewilderment as a result of his noontime vision. What did it mean? What was he supposed to do about it? Just then the messengers from Cornelius arrived at the door of Simon the tanner’s home. These men had been told to go to Joppa and find a man named Simon Peter, who was staying at the home of a tanner named Simon, whose house was by the sea. It was at this moment that the Spirit gave Peter some very clear instruction. He informed Peter that three men were looking for him and told him to go downstairs and accompany them without hesitation, because He had sent them.
Prayer is a two-way conversation. When men and women pray in Acts, great things happen. God speaks to people when they are in prayer. Prayer is not just men and women speaking to God; prayer is God speaking to those who are listening to Him when they pray. In chapter 9, Paul’s vision is apparently associated with Paul’s prayer. In chapter 10, Cornelius was in prayer when God spoke to him about sending for Peter. Many of us spend all of our time talking to God, rather than listening for God to speak to us in some way. In my life, this is usually through thoughts that come to my mind. Sometimes it is insight into a passage that I’m thinking or praying about. Sometimes it is a thought about how to respond to a difficult situation. When you pray, have a pencil and paper nearby, God may open the eyes of your heart to what He is preparing for you for today.