Posted by / Wednesday 25 January 2017 / No comments

The Conversion of Cornelius

There was a centurion of the Italian cohorts who lived in Caesarea called Cornelius. He was God fearing, prayed always and also gave alms to people generously.

One day, at about the ninth hour (3pm), an angel visited him and told him his prayers and alms giving have appeared before the Lord in heaven. The angel told him to send some of his men to Joppa to call Peter who was residing in the house of man called Simon, a tanner, who lived by the shores the Sea. After that encounter, Cornelius sent some of his soldiers to Joppa to call Peter.

The following day, while Cornelius’ men were on the way, close to the city of Joppa, at about the sixth hour (12 noon), Peter went to the rooftop to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat but while the food was being prepared, he fell in a trance.

In his trance-like state, Peter saw the heavens opened and there was something descending, being held by the four corners by ropes, onto the earth. In it were different kinds of animals, reptiles and birds and Peter heard a voice saying “Rise, Peter, kill and eat”. Peter refused saying he had never eaten anything unclean. The voice said “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” Peter experienced this three times before the thing went up into the heavens again.

As Peter was perusing over the experience, the men Cornelius had sent had also arrived at the gate and were making inquiries about Peter. The spirit of God told Peter that three people were looking for him and that he should follow them without delay. When he met them and had heard the mission they had brought, he hosted them till the next day. Then they started the journey to Caesarea with some of the brothers in Joppa following Peter.

They arrived in Caesarea the next day. Cornelius had called his family and friends and had been waiting for them before they arrived. When Peter and his entourage entered, Cornelius went on his knees to worship Peter but he asked him not to because he was also just a man like him. Peter told the people who had gathered waiting about how it was unlawful for a Jew to enter the house of a people of another nation, then he explained how God had told him not to call anybody unclean. Then he asked the reason why Cornelius had sent for him.

Cornelius related his vision to Peter and the instruction to send for him. He said they were just waiting for the words that he had brought to them. When Peter heard this, he said now he knew that God does not discriminate against anybody and that whoever does what is right would be accepted by Him.

Then Peter preached to them. He spoke about the baptism of Jesus by John, the anointing on Jesus and how he worked among the people. He spoke about his miracles, his death and his resurrection. He finished by saying, the sins of anyone who received Jesus would be forgiven once the person believed.

Peter had not yet even finished speaking when the Holy Spirit fell on the people and they spoke in different languages, praising God. Immediately, Peter instructed that the people should be baptized with water since even God did not withhold the Holy Spirit from them.

After this, Peter stayed in Caesarea for some days before going back.

1. Narrate the story of how Cornelius was converted. 

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