I WILL BLESS THEM THAT BLESS THEE – PART 3

011-peter-cornelius

Acts Chapter Ten – KJV

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.  He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:  And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?  And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

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This was the promise the God of the universe made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3.  Thus far we have looked at scriptural stories of people who received special attention based on this promise. It is interesting to note they were the most unlikely individuals. In other words they were people who were not Jewish nor were they Abraham’s descendants or particularly religious. They did, however, receive a special blessing because of what they did and how their actions blessed the Jews.

It is interesting to note that at the beginning of church age there were only Jewish people.  In order to get the disciples of Jesus Christ to include non-Jews the God of the Universe gave a special vision to Peter the apostle.  At the same time this God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave a special vision to a non-Jew by the name of Cornelius who was a Roman Centurion stationed in Israel who was still under Roman control.

In the 10th chapter of Acts, Cornelius was fasting and praying.  During this time an angel came to him stating God had heard his prayers and seen his abundant alms giving to the Jewish people.  God acknowledged that Cornelius was a devout God-fearing man.

Here again we see the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3  God, through His angelic messenger told Cornelius to send for the Apostle Peter to tell him what Cornelius’ inner most being truly longed for.  He desired to know God in a more true and personal way.  He was, however, a Gentile, a non-Jew.  He did not have what was required in order for him to enter in to this type of relationship.  God made all of what he truly desired available to him through a special encounter.  Peter the apostle came to him and presented to Cornelius the only way of salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ alone referred to as the new birth or being born again.

Again the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob honored His word/promise.  It is interesting to note that this encounter ushered in a new era.  As stated before, at its inception the church of Jesus Christ contained only Jewish members.  But after Cornelius’ conversion the Jews began to preach the gospel message to Gentiles as well. Today the church of Jesus Christ is mainly made up of non-Jews.

Your comments are more than welcome.

Lucy

I WILL BLESS THEM THAT BLESS THEE – PART 2

 

Luke 7 Roman Centurion and his servant

Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.  And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.  And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.  And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, that he was worthy for whom he should do this:  For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.  Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:  Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.  For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.  When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.              -Luke 7:1-10

Another biblical story that demonstrates this wonderful promise is found in the above book of Luke in the New Testament or covenant.  In this scripture, the history of Israel has changed.  They are no longer under Babylonian dominion but under Roman captivity.  This was a very painful and harsh time in the life of the Nation of Israel.  The people were still looking for their Messiah or king to come forth and deliver them from Roman tyranny.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ was now on the scene. He did many wonderful works and miracles of healings, but His message was different.  He made claims that He was the Son of God, meaning He was equal with God the Father.  With all His power and ability Jesus made no moves against the Romans.  In fact as far as the religious leaders were concerned He broke the Mosaic Laws especially when He performed miracles of healing on the Sabbath day.  There continued to be friction between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders and elders.  Jesus was not doing what they felt a king of Israel or their Messiah was supposed to do; and therefore; they rejected Him and His message.  They sought to destroy Him and constantly looked for a way to do it.

 

What is interesting to note is that this story is about a slave, a servant.  This servant was very sick and in deep pain.  His master loved him and did not want him to die.  His master was a Roman Centurion who heard about the many wonderful works, miracles, and healings that Jesus performed.  He was afraid to come to Jesus on his own because he was not a Jew. By rights he would be considered an enemy of the Jews because he was a Roman with power and authority over them. Desperate to get help for his servant who he loved, the Centurion went to the Jewish elders in his district that he was responsible for. He asked them to approach Jesus to see if He would come to help his servant.  Although they were at odds with Jesus, the elders approached Him on behalf of the Centurion’s servant.  They stated that the Centurion was worthy of this because he had shown a certain love for the Jewish nation and had built them a synagogue.  Remembering the ancient promise, Jesus immediately started walking to the home of the Roman Centurion.

 

The Roman Centurion knew about power and authority because he exercised his power and authority everyday over the soldiers as well as his servants.  He related this understanding to Jesus recognizing the authority Jesus had.  Still feeling unworthy to ask Jesus to come under his roof he asked Jesus to speak the word only and my servant will live. Needless to say Jesus was astonished at the faith of this Roman Centurion.

 

When the elders got back to the home of the Centurion they found the servant perfectly whole. The love the Centurion had previously shown the Jews by building them a synagogue brought about the healing of his servant. God always honors His word.

 

If we as African Americans in this country hope to get much needed help, it must be supernatural.  God is the only one who can do it.

 

Your comments are most welcome.

 

Lucy