by Dr. Lance Wallnau
What makes the man Cornelius, found in Acts chapter 10, and his experience with God interesting is that this was an out of the box visitation.
This man was a Gentile and not a Jew. He was in fact a military man, a Centurion; his position means he had 100 men under his charge. An angel was sent to him personally to set up a meeting with Peter and no doubt angels were sent to Peter to make sure he was in the right place for his part to be played. The place for this visitation was the Centurion’s own villa where he and his close family and friends would be gathered together. Cornelius did not have a plan in mind. He had a man in mind– Peter. All he knew was that Peter needed to come and speak.
What happened next was amazing. Peter went into the house, opened his mouth and God came down and filled everyone with His Spirit. When the right people get into proximity with each other at the right time – heaven invades earth! Proximity is power. Proximity to the throne creates proximity to your place and the people God assigned to meet there.
We may be able to see a pattern in this for our day. Cornelius was a man who prayed and gave. It was during prayer that the angel came to him, “Cornelius stared at him in terror. ‘ What is it, sir?’ he asked the angel. And the angel replied, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!’ ” (Acts 10:4)
Cornelius gives us a picture on what kind of person God is looking for. His prayers and his giving are mentioned by the angel as characteristics that made him a place God wanted to visit. Also, when he sent men to Peter they said he was in good standing with all the Jews, so he was evidently not an anti-Semite by any stretch.
This man experienced a visitation much different than the ones that preceded it, in other ways.
The recipient of the visitation was a Gentile not a Jew
It took place in a House not a Synagogue
He was with a Military man not a Religious man, as Jews were accustomed.
Who knows but that this Cornelius pattern exists today! There may be a Muslim or a Hindu or someone connected to the Chinese Communist Party who is gracious toward believers and or Israel, gives of his or her wealth to help the poor, and is praying as best they know how.
Do not underestimate the “outside the box” visitations. Endure the moments of contradiction and be on the lookout for a “house of Cornelius” – a place or person outside the commonplace where God can and is being now, made manifest.