What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”
We have now to read a chapter peculiarly interesting to us Gentiles, because it shows how the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, which our Lord broke down by his death, was in due time practically removed by the calling of a Gentile household to the faith of Jesus. Before this time only Jews, proselytes, and Samaritans, all branches of the older family, had been converted, but now a Roman captain and his house were to be saved.
Yet something more was wanted, and he must send for one who would tell him of Jesus, the Saviour.
The tanner’s trade was greatly despised, but this did not prejudice the centurion. Better to learn the way of God from one who lodged with a poor tanner than remain in ignorance. Meanwhile God was preparing Peter to comply with the centurion’s request.
The same Peter who formerly would not permit his Lord to wash the feet of his sinful servant now doubts whether that can be cleansed which, by the Jewish law, was unclean. How the old self comes up, even in the regenerated.
Do not wonder if you have to teach children many times the same thing, for even an apostle needed to have his lesson repeated three times.
See the hand of Providence. How well-timed were the vision and the arrival of the messengers!
These servants spoke well of their master, and that fact speaks well for them. God will surely bless those families in which the heads of the house and the servants love one another because they all love the Lord.
Humble as the lodging was, he offered it to them, and they accepted it. Christians should be hospitable even if they are poor.
That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body.”
The messengers of Cornelius were not long detained by the apostle, for
It was a journey of thirty miles, but no doubt the apostle and his six brethren had sweet fellowship on the road, and found kind companions in the three attendants.
Had he been like his pretended successor, he would have bidden him kiss his toe.
Note how he longs to be at work, he wastes no time in idle compliments. Soul matters are weighty and should be at once attended to. Cornelius was ready at once to tell Peter how the Lord had appeared to him, and directed him to send to Joppa, and he added:—
The best kind of congregation a preacher can have. Bogatzky says, “These words should be inscribed on all our church-doors and pulpits, that men may consider well wherefore they ought to be in the house of God.” Peter’s congregation was unbroken—”we are all here;” it was devout—”present before God;” it was attentive—”to hear all things;” it was teachable, for they desired to know “all things that are commanded thee of God.” We should always go to divine service in this spirit.
Not in such a way as to supersede the gospel, but to secure them the privilege of hearing it. If there are among the heathen any like Cornelius, the Lord will be sure to send a Peter to them, for he has accepted them.
The fact that they had already received the Holy Spirit so abundantly did not set aside the divine ordinance, it was rather the ground of their right to it. This passage is instructive to those who wish to learn.