First, a little background: Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, had a vision to find a man named Simon Peter who was staying in a nearby city. The only catch? Cornelius had never met Peter. Around the same time, Peter had a very unusual vision from God releasing him from the traditional Jewish dietary rules requiring strictly kosher food. Peter knew there had to be something more to this vision than simply a change in Judaism’s dietary laws, but he wasn’t sure what else it could mean – until Cornelius’ men arrived.
It’s important to understand that at this point in time, Gentiles (non-Jews like Cornelius) and Jews did not get along. In fact, Jews would not even set foot inside a Gentile home for fear of becoming unclean. You can imagine Peter reflecting on his vision when those men arrived. Amazingly, Peter invited the men inside and the next day he went to meet Cornelius in his home.
By connecting these very different men through these very different visions, God was beginning to break down cultural barriers. As Peter sat down with Cornelius and his entire household to share the Gospel, Peter finally understood the full meaning of the vision. God doesn’t show partiality. In fact, when it comes to salvation, there is only one, clear mission: Take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to ALL mankind – that’s everyone – including you and me. Since most followers of Jesus are Gentiles, I’m mighty thankful that God led Peter to get the ball rolling with Cornelius.