23Peter invited them to spend the night.
The next morning, Peter and some of the Lord's followers in Joppa left with the men who had come from Cornelius. 24The next day they arrived in Caesarea where Cornelius was waiting for them. He had also invited his relatives and close friends.
25When Peter arrived, Cornelius greeted him. Then he knelt at Peter's feet and started worshiping him. 26But Peter took hold of him and said, “Stand up! I am nothing more than a human.”
27As Peter entered the house, he was still talking with Cornelius. Many people were there, 28and Peter said to them, “You know that we Jews are not allowed to have anything to do with other people. But God has shown me that he doesn't think anyone is unclean or unfit. 29I agreed to come here, but I want to know why you sent for me.”
Four days ago at about three o'clock in the afternoon I was praying at home. Suddenly a man in bright clothes stood in front of me. 31He said, “Cornelius, God has heard your prayers, and he knows about your gifts to the poor. 32Now send to Joppa for Simon Peter. He is visiting in the home of Simon the leather maker, who lives near the sea.”
33I sent for you at once, and you have been good enough to come. All of us are here in the presence of the Lord God, so that we can hear what he has to say.
The revelation is given to Peter in the context of his sleep (Acts 10:10). Deep sleep signifies a transformational moment in the workings of God towards mankind. We see it in deep-sleeping dreams to Adam (Genesis 2:21), Abraham (Genesis 15:4), and Daniel (Daniel 7:1).
Cornelius, the God fearing centurion, is a man who has made it his habit to be in the presence of God through prayer. But now his eternal presence is coming to him through a messenger he has been ordered to summon.
Cornelius is so excited that he has gathered together his relatives and close friends. They huddle in eager anticipation. When he finally meets Peter, we read that “he knelt at Peter’s feet and started worshiping him” (v 25).
Our culture predisposes us to mock Cornelius. He is clearly in error. Peter himself tells him to rise because he is only a man, not a divine being.
But the apostle John makes the same mistake with an angel in the Book of Revelation. Maybe our derision comes from the fact that he bows down to anyone. Our proud age accustoms us to being familiar, if not on equal terms, with everyone. There is no room for worship.
Ours is the greater error. Cornelius rightly concludes the enormity of what is happening. He simply mistakes the messenger for its sender.
And now the curiosity and anticipation of both is about to be satisfied. Although Peter still does not understand the full significance of the vision he received about eating the ceremonially unclean animals, encountering Cornelius in person is leading him to unravel the clues. As Peter notes, “God has shown me that he doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit” (v 29).
Cornelius provides the final clue: “All of us are here in the presence of the Lord God” (v 33).
They are united, not divided, before the Lord.
By the blood of your Son Jesus, shed once on the cross for all for the forgiveness of sins,
You have made us one people to praise you in unison,
And in all the distinctions and differences among Christians to work harmony,
We pray that your glory would so shine that many would be drawn to you.