1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
This passage is commending the voluntary, heartfelt submission to God of people who have thought about what is due to him. Cornelius prayed to God regularly; that is, his religion was not just seen in external ceremonies, but he worshiped God spiritually. Let us all encourage ourselves to persevere in prayer as Cornelius did.
If a godly man has children who are not like him or a wife who is badly behaved, or servants who are wicked and dishonest, he should not turn a blind eye or allow his household to be polluted through his own negligence.
Sincere profession of the Gospel may be maligned in the world, but we are depraved cowards if that keeps us from offering our family to God. If a small spark of faith had such influence over him, what should the full brightness of knowledge produce in us?
Whoever wants to be Christ’s disciple and be illuminated by the light of heavenly wisdom should listen to and learn from external, human voices. Christ uses these as his instruments and wants our faith to be linked to them.