Unstoppable! 'Good Centurions Open to Jesus & His Message!' — Acts 10:1-2

Thursday, May 27, 2021

In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God.

— Acts 10:1-2 NLT

Key Thought

Caesarea was a Roman city built by Herod the Great to curry the favor of Rome, to promote trade, and to provide seaport access to Galilee, Samaria, and Judea for Roman soldiers. We should not be surprised that there was a Roman army officer from Italy in the city. (Some translations identify the Roman army officers as centurions.*) Like nearly every other Roman soldier of rank in Luke and Acts, Cornelius is open to the Good News of Jesus. He is already a God-fearer, someone seeking to honor God. The story about Cornelius marks the start of Luke's focus in Acts on the early disciples beginning to include Gentiles in the family of Jesus.** In retrospect, we can understand God's timing in sending Jesus. Roman roads and safety made sea and land travel relatively easy. Roman laws generally protected the innocent, especially if they were Roman citizens. Multicultural experiences opened those who traveled to new ideas and opened hearts for the Good News of Jesus. No wonder that the acceptance of Gentiles by the Jewish believers in Jesus hinged on a God-fearing, generous, and passionately prayerful Roman soldier (Acts 10:48-11:3, 11:18).

* The references in the Related Scripture Readings below are in the NIV instead of the NLT to have the specific term, "centurion." A centurion was of higher rank and a more significant influence in society than an ordinary Roman soldier. Luke emphasizes the openness of several specific centurions to the message of Jesus.

** Acts: Jesus' Spirit-Empowered Witnesses to the World (Acts 1:8)
Growing into Mission 1.8: chaps. 1-9 — (Focus on Jerusalem) {Time of Peter}
Deciding for Mission 1.8: chaps. 10-15 — (Focus on Antioch) {Time of Transition}
Carrying out Mission 1.8: chaps. 16-28 — (Focus on Ephesus & Rome) {Time of Paul}

Today's Prayer

Father, I thank you for the ways you have provided opportunities and seasons for your people to share the Good News of Jesus with the world. Give us your wisdom to use every tool that is available to us to share Jesus. We long for all people to come to Christ and become part of our family of faith. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 7:1-7 NIV; Luke 23:47 NIV; Acts 10:1 NIV; Acts 10:7 NIV; Acts 10:22 NIV
  • Acts 22:25-26 NIV; Acts 23:18 NIV; Acts 24:23 NIV; Acts 27:6 NIV; Acts 27:31-43 NIV

Comments

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 10:1-2 NLT — In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God.

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.