Centurion And Jesus
Built by Herod the Great to prove his devotion to Augustus, beginning in 6 BC, Caesarea became the new provincial capital of Judea, the center of Roman control. Cornelius, an officer in the Italian Cohort, was stationed there and instead of worshiping his ancestor gods, he worshiped the true God of Israel and proved his sincerity by generously giving to meet the needs of the Jewish people. How did God bring the truth about Jesus, the Messiah, to this godly pagan?
"Now there was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian cohort. He was devout, fearing God together with all his household and giving charitable gifts to many of the Jewish people. He prayed regularly to God.
About three in the afternoon he clearly saw in a vision an angel from God coming to him and saying, 'Cornelius!' Looking intently at the angel, the Roman became terrified. 'What is it, Lord?' And the angel said to him, 'Your prayers and your charitable gifts have ascended as a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter, here. He is living as a guest with a man named Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the Sea.'
When the angel, the one speaking with him, left, Cornelius summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier (all were constantly at his service) and explained to them about the vision. Then he sent them off to Joppa." Acts 10:1-8
In the middle of the first century, a Jew living under the domination of the Roman Empire would naturally think a Roman officer would be their enemy. But in this case the centurion was their friend and God was deeply at work in his heart.
God is still working like this today, and I need to be open to the fact that He might be at work in the hearts of those I least expect. Our Father's heart loves to surprise us with those He wants come to know His Son.
LORD, help me to be open today to the "Cornelius's" You are seeking. Thanks that, especially in the Moslem world, You are powerfully using visions to open hearts to move them to discover the truth about Jesus.
Note: Charitable giving was a major proof that God was at work in Cornelius' heart. Making investments in God's people is a precious opportunity. If these Devos are helping you, ask the Lord about starting to make investments in Truth Encounter so that we can expand our ministry.
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