Ruthe's Secret Rosesl
A Search Assistant Angel
God doesn't send angels to tell the gospel story. Instead, He sends them to tell where to find a
key person who will share that good news.
A Roman centurion stationed at Caesarea in Israel, was in charge of 100 soldiers. Unlike
other Romans he had learned to devoutly and regularly pray to God, he taught his household to do the
same, and he supported the local Jews by giving them money for a synagogue. The Jews respected this
man, though they generally hated all Romans for occupying their country.
One day at about three in the afternoon, this man named Cornelius, had a vision. An angel
who addressed him by name, told him, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have become a remembrance
before God. Now send some men to Joppa for a man called Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon the
tanner, whose house is by the sea."
Immediately Cornelius called two servants and a soldier, who was also a devote man, and sent
them off on this errand.
Meanwhile, God was preparing Peter for this uncommon experience with Gentiles. He was
praying up on the roof of his host's house, waiting for lunch, and getting hungry. Peter fell into a
trance and saw the heavens open up and a large sheet being lowered down (held up by the four
corners), and in it were riding all kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles, and birds. A voice told
Peter to rise up and kill and eat."
Peter's answer was a clear, "No way, Lord!" He knew those creatures as all on the Jewish
do-not eat list."I've never eaten anything unclean, and not about to start!"
This scenario happened three times before the sheet disappeared finally into the sky. Peter
was pondering the meaning of this vision when he heard Cornelius' envoys at the gate, calling out,
asking if Simon Peter was staying there.
God's Spirit said to Peter, "Three men are looking for you. Get up, go down, and don't
hesitate to go with them, for I've sent them." So Peter went down to ask what they wanted.
They told him of Cornelius' angel visitation and his invitation to come and tell his
household whatever God wanted him to say.
The next day Peter went with them. He arrived to find the centurion's home tight full of
servants, relatives and close friends, all waiting to hear Peter out.
Cornelius tried to show reverence to Peter, but the burly fisherman turned preacher refused
to allow it. "I'm only a man," he said. Then he told of his own vision which he now understood to
mean that he should no longer think of Gentiles as impure or unclean. This broke Peter's a
long-standing Jewish practice of having nothing to do with Gentiles.
Cornelius repeated his story of the angel visit and instructions.
At that, Peter realized that God accepts people from every nation, and the good news of
Jesus Christ, about His death and resurrection, was meant for everyone. He went into an impromptu
and enthusiastic sermon.
While he was talking, the Holy Spirit came upon these people just as He had at the Pentecost
the disciples had experienced in Jerusalem. This convinced Peter they were ready for water baptism
and he stayed with them a few days to teach them.
Do we brand certain people as untouchables? Do you need help searching for the answers to
your big questions?
We need to regard all races and classes as worthy of our respect and the good news too.
If we need answers to life's serious questions, we need to ask God in prayer. If we don't
get direct access to His answers, He will guide us to trustworthy sources.
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