PETER BAPTISES THE GENTILE CORNELIUS


 

” God has shown me  I should not call any man unclean”

To show that salvation is for all men of any nation and that there is only one way acceptable to God.

CORNELIUS SENDS FOR PETER

Cornelius was a roman centurion who lived at caesarea. Even though he was the Captain of one hundred soldiers,he wanted to learn about God.He always played to God and gave away a lot of money to poor people.He even built a synagogue for the Jews to worship in ,but they still looked on him as a gentile; he was a roman centurion and not a Jew.

One day an angel of God appeared to him and called him ” Cornelius!”

Cornelius felt afraid. “What is it, Lord?” he said . The angel answered,: God has heard your prayers and knows about your good works.Now send men to Joppa and call for one Simon,whose surname is Peter. He is staying with Simon,the tanner,whose house is by the seaside. he will tell you what you ought to do.”

As soon as the angel left, Cornelius called two of his servants and a faithful soldier.He told them what had happened and sent them to Joppa to call peter.

PETER AT JOPPA

Peter was in Joppa just as the angel had said.He was staying with Simon the tanner .( A tanner is a man who works with the Skins of dead animals to turn them into leather.)  At about midday peter went up to the top of the house to pray.As he prayed he became very hungry. Suddenly he saw a vision. It seemed to him as though the heavens opened and something was coming down to him.It was like a big sheet, tied together by the four corners and let down to the earth. Inside the sheet were all kinds of animals,creeping things and birds.

Peter heard a voice” Rise,Peter,Kill and eat.” But Peter answered ” No,Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is unclean.” The animals inside the sheet were the kinds which he had never eaten before. In the Law of Moses God had said that His people were only to eat clean animals.

Then the voice spoke again and said, ” what God has cleansed ,you must not call unclean.”

Three times this happened,and then the sheet was drawn back into heaven. Peter was very puzzled as he tried to work out the meaning of the stranger vision.

THE MEN FROM CORNELIUS ARRIVE

Then,just at the very same time ,the three men from Cornelius came to the gate of Simon’s house. They asked to see Peter.

Peter was still on the housetop wondering about the vision.God spoke to Peter ,” Thee men are looking for you .Go down and go with them doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” Peter went downstairs and found the men.” I am the man you are looking for” he said. Why have you come? They replied,” Cornelius,the centurion,a good man who fear God ,was warned by God’s holy angel to send for you and to hear the words you have to say.

So the next morning Peter went with them to Caesarea.

PETER MEETS CORNELIUS

Cornelius was waiting for them.He had asked his friends and relations to gather at his house.Never before had Peter the jew , Had anything to do for with the gentiles,but now he went right inside the house of Roman Centurion. Now Peter was beginning to know the reason why god had sent the strange vision.Peter and the Jews thought that the gentiles were like unclean animals and had no hope of being in God’s Kingdom. Peter needed to understand that Gentiles would learn and obey the gospel too. They were not to be thought of as ” unclean” any more.

Peter said to Cornelius,” You know how  that it is not permitted for a Jew to come to see a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call any man unclean. Tell me now,why you have sent for me?”

Cornelius explained about the angel and his message. Peter said” Now I can see that God does not make any difference between Jews and Gentiles ,but He accepts everyone who worships him in truth.” Peter went on to tell Cornelius all about the things which Jesus did and how he said, “Jesus commanded us to preach to the people .Every one who believes shall have their sins forgiven.

CORNELIUS IS BAPTIZED

As Peter spoke these words,the Holy spirit came on Cornelius and on all who heard his words.Peter was amazed,for they could speak in different languages too.Now he knew for certain that God had accepted these Gentiles.He said,”These people should be baptized.” And they were.

They asked Peter to stay with them for a while too. what a happy time it would be for them to speak together of the wonderful things God had done for them and of His coming Kingdom.

To day we are Going to learn that  Ever though Cornelius prayed to God and was kind to the poor,he still had to believe the Gospel and be baptized in order to have his sins forgiven and to seek a place in God’s kingdom.It is not enough just to be nice people. we must believe what God says in the Bible and obey the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember that :

*Cornelius was a gentile,a Roman Centurion who wanted to learn of God.

*God told him to send for Peter.

Peter was shown a vision of unclean animals and told to kill and eat.

*He preached the Gospel to Cornelius and his family.

*The Holy Spirit cam upon them and they were baptized.

Faith and trust in God

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