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Acts 10:1-48 (Part 1)

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. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa. (verses 7-8)


Acts 10 is a watershed moment in the life of the infant church. From this point on, Gentiles, too, will be embraced in the fullness of life in Christ. The significance of this event is emphasized by the telling and re-telling of the angelic visitation to Cornelius. Luke, the author here, lingers on these details, nailing them down, so we don’t miss them.

In the midst of this new direction in the unfolding plan of God, I’m struck by the many human players who are drawn into the drama.Of course, Cornelius and Peter are central, the one receiving angelic visitation, the other multiple visions. But there are others, too, who, unexpectedly, are given significant roles in the plot. These events will impact the whole world, orchestrated by heaven, not human initiative.

No single person has the key role. Instead, like pieces of a puzzle held in different hands, many individuals engage in the storyline.

Like the three attendants who carry Cornelius’ message to Joppa. The soldier stands out, being described as ‘devout,’ clearly having a tender heart for God. But the two others must also have been known for devotion, being implicitly trusted by Cornelius, also. These three are fully embraced in his confidence – he confides in them the very personal details of his encounter with God, they themselves becoming bearers of that divine directive.

And so, they go. Imagine their anticipation as they travelled those 30 miles up the coast to Caesarea, propelled by angelic direction. What will they find? Who is this man Peter? What will he say?

Peter, himself prepared by divine visions, readily accepts their invitation. But he, too, draws others into the mix, taking with him “some of the brothers from Joppa,” expanding the circle. When they arrive, Cornelius himself has expanded it further, having assembled relatives and close friends.

The stage is now fully set. The drama reaches its climax. The gospel is preached, the Spirit poured out. Salvation comes to Cornelius’ house, crossing the cultural divide, embracing all people. All heaven rejoices. And the repercussions have never ceased.

And what of the ‘devout’ soldier and the two servants? What impact did the drama have on them? I imagine their lives were never the same thereafter, having been caught up in the great story. What grace that Almighty God chooses to engage people in the fullness of his purposes.

What grace that he continues to engage us.


Dear Lord, praise you that your heart embraces all people, across every divide, welcoming any and all whose hearts open to the Saviour. Thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you for the gift of your Spirit.

And thank you that you chose to draw us, each one, into your ongoing unfolding story. May we, like those devoted three, listen attentively for your directives, step into your plans and engage in your purposes.

For the glory of Jesus’ Name.


Reflect: What will it mean for you to make yourself available to the Lord this day?

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