Cornelius, a Roman Centurion!

Acts 10:1-11:18 is the story of an epic hero, God, not only working outside “the box” but shattering the box we often put God in of how we think God works.  Outstanding sermons on Pentecost while challenging us about speaking in tongues, is somehow still familiar for we understand about campaigns.  Individual conversions like the Ethiopian who finds faith through Scripture that touches his condition and resonates into his soul is comforting.  Acts 10, though, shows us a hero who is willing, yet again, to reach into our world to make sure we understand all are welcome in his Kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven.  There is indeed a new iteration beyond the Old Testament and the nation that was built through Abraham.  Our hero is not only defeating our villain but he is also going to build a kingdom that will last for eternity!

         One of the biggest hurdles for the early disciples was the common belief that the messiah was coming to deliver them from Rome and restore the glory days of Israel.  The “enemy” was Rome.  An angel of God visits a Roman centurion, Cornelius, and tells him to invite Peter who is staying in Joppa by the sea.  God is answering the prayers of an unbeliever seeking truth!  The angel also visits Peter, napping on the roof of his host waiting for lunch.  Peter is clearly told to go with the messengers being sent to take him to Cornelius.  Cornelius asks Peter to give the message he is sure from God and Peter enters his house to share, breaking Jews rules.  The Holy Spirit blesses even as at Pentecost.  There can be no doubt that God has spoken and the church that is forming is not just about Jews but also includes the Gentiles – even the Romans, the hated “enemy.”

         So who do we consider impossible for God to reach and restore to relationship with him?  Perhaps there is a wayward child “sowing their oats.”  Perhaps there is that totally frustrating neighbor.  Perhaps there is that person of a different language and customs.  So often we put the word “impossible” across a situation that is totally beyond our ability to imagine.  Often we consider that person, “the enemy.”  God is about breaking down walls or building bridges.   Perhaps a first step is to pray about any situation beyond our control.  God is there working in them and working in us and we can ask God to open our eyes to the impossible he is able to do.  God works outside our boxes and that gives us hope when the skies look dark!  Blessings as you find hope in God.

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