17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon, who was known as Peter, was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
Peter at Cornelius’s House
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?
Loving like Jesus can be uncomfortable. Peter was right when he said Jews weren’t supposed to enter the houses of Gentiles. I believe he might have hesitated at the door. Once inside, it probably felt uncomfortable touching the uncleanliness of a Gentile home. Even worse, Cornelius was a Roman officer, an oppressor, an invader. Yes, Jesus Love can be troublesome.
Why would Peter take this risk? Why would he answer the invitation? Simply put, because God said so. “God so loved the world…” John 3:16. Unfortunately, this command included Romans too, not to mention Gentiles. God loved like Jesus or Jesus loved like God. Either is true. God wanted, commanded, Peter to love like Jesus. Live this new commandment, Peter, “Love as I have loved you.” Peter the coward? Peter had denied Jesus, but Jesus still loved him. What value is it if we only love those who love us, are like us, or agree with us? Jesus Love means loving the untouchable, the unlikely, even when we are uncomfortable doing so. Who is your Cornelius?
Dear God, today fills my heart with love for those different than me, those I am not like, those who don’t like me, those the world doesn’t like. Help me answer Jesus’ call as Peter did. Help me love like Jesus. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.