Cornelius is a unique character from whom we can learn much. Unlike most characters in the Bible, he was not a Jew. However, he sets an excellent example for Christians, and is one of the first characters to show that Jesus came to save all of humanity, not just the Israelites.
1. What characteristics are unique about Cornelius?
2. Cornelius worked for a government in support of paganism, yet he followed the one true God.
What might his consequences have been for this allegiance?
Can we relate to his solidarity in today’s society?
3. ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.’
What did God apparently think of Cornelius?
Since Jesus came as the ultimate sacrifice, we have no obligation to observe the rituals and sacrifices of the Israelites to be saved.
What then are we offering to God?
4. ‘Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.’
Cornelius was already a ‘righteous and God-fearing man,’ yet as an answer to his prayers he was told to seek out Peter to learn more.
As Christians, have we stopped seeking to learn more?
From whom can we continue to learn?
5. While we may no longer be physically visited by angels, how does God continue to guide us today?
6. ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.’
Cornelius was one of the first Gentiles to be baptized and saved. In the next chapter of Acts, Acts 11, Peter was initially criticised for associating with uncircumcised men. However, we see that all groups and people can be saved.
What groups or people do we sometimes exclude as we attempt to spread the gospel?
Why do we do this?