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An Offer Of Salvation For All Nations
by Wayne Blank
The First Gentile Converts
Cornelius was a centurion (a Roman officer in command of a hundred men, from the Latin word centum i.e. a century has 100 years, and a dollar has 100 cents) who has a special place in Bible History. He was a "devout man" who believed in the true God, which may have been the result of his contact with the Jews, and later the first Christians, in the area of his home at Caesarea, located on the shore of The Mediterranean Sea about 50 miles / 80 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem.
Cornelius was chosen to become among the first gentile converts to Christianity after God delivered individual messages to both he and Peter (Acts 10:1-23). At the time, Peter was staying at Joppa (today Tel Aviv), about 30 miles / 50 kilometers down the coast to the south of Caesarea. After their meeting, Cornelius and his family were baptized (see Baptism) as Christians (Acts 10:23-48).
Peter Arrives At Cornelius' Home
"And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his kinsmen and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man."
Salvation For All Who Obey God
"And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him. You know the word which He sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ, He is Lord of all, the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John [see John The Baptist] preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him [see Miracles Of Jesus Christ]."
Fact Finder: Were people of many nationalities present in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit came upon the church on the Pentecost after Christ's resurrection?