Caesarea Maritima: Holy Spirit Given to Gentiles
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Caesarea Maritima: Holy Spirit Given to the Gentiles
Welcome to the Holy Land and the biblical site of Caesarea. See the Bible come to life as we take a look at a key event from the Scriptures that took place here. Here in Caesarea is where God gave the Holy Spirit to all mankind through Cornelius, a Gentile. Up until this time, God’s work was mainly focused on the Israelites.
Here are some key points in this fascinating story to help us better understand it:
Cornelius lived here in Caesarea
He was a Gentile
He was a high-ranking Roman Soldier in a prestigious position
He and his family were devout and God-fearing people.
He was certainly touched and moved by the Jewish faith and all he knew and saw about the true God of Israel.
He gave generously to the needy and prayed regularly.
In Acts 10, we find this fascinating story takes place and see it begin with Cornelius receiving a vision, and then asking for the Apostle Peter to visit him and share the good news of the Gospel with him, his family, and friends.
Acts 10:1-8: “At Caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea." When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.”
Right after Cornelius’ vision, God gives Peter a vision in Joppa.
Acts 10:9-11 picks up the story, “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
In the meantime, several of Cornelius’ servants arrive at the house where Peter was staying.
Acts 10:23-24: “Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
Here at Caesarea, God gives the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles.
Acts 10:34-48 concludes this special account, “Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
So what have we seen in this special account?
God loves all people, regardless of their nationality.
God is the one who searches and seeks the lost.
Do I allow what I think about people to influence whether or not I share my faith with them?
In the same way Peter went to go to share the Gospel with Cornelius, am I willing to go and share my faith with others?
Do I know God’s Word so I can rightly share it?
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