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God has reminded us from the beginning that he holds our future and the timing of our future. All through Bible history, God implemented his plan in times and through people that the average person would never expect. Peter was simply minding his own business, when God sent him to meet with Cornelius, the Centurion. Cornelius had spent a lifetime honoring God—even without any real means of knowing him personally. Then, Christ appeared and everything changed.
God sent Peter, his lead apostle to start the expansion. He prepared Cornelius and is family to hear the message and he blessed and anointed the meeting with his spirit—to leave no doubt about his personal stamp of approval. At the close, the family was baptized and the church expanded past the Jewish population and began its march across the world.
I am sure that Cornelius was ready to be saved much sooner than Peter appeared. He had been seeking God for some time. God had a plan and had to put all the pieces together, however, prior to its implementation. Paul was ready to evangelize, Peter was established as a leader and Cornelius and his family longed to know God. Let the ministry begin.
We are reaping the benefit of God’s perfect timing. We often seek God on our terms—as did Cornelius, only to find that he always operates in his time and through his plan. It is often maddening for us to have to wait on him, and yet, when he executes his plan, there is never a doubt that his plan was right and his execution flawless. God told us in Jeremiah—“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you—plans to give you a hope and a future!” Jeremiah 29:11.
God Bless You
Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.