Acts 10:1-8 Cornelius’ Prayer Is Answered.
Up the coast of the Mediterranean, in the seaport of Caesarea, a man from the Italian Regiment named Cornelius, saw an angle of God in a vision, at three in the afternoon (vv. 1-3). He was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household” (v. 2a). Many are devout or religious, but Luke also makes the point that the man feared God. It is possible to be religious without any fear of God. His fear of God showed itself not only that he prayed to the God of the bible, but he also gave generously to those in need. Furthermore, it wasn’t just him alone, but his entire household feared God. When he realized that it was a vision from God he responds to the angel calling out his name saying, “What is it lord” (v. 4a)? He then learns that both his prayers and his alms giving have risen as a memorial before God (v. 4b).
Cornelius was no doubt encouraged to hear from an angel, especially given what the angel said concerning his prayers and alms rising before God. He might have also found some comfort in the mention of Simon the tanner, since he was considered unclean by those who worshiped the God of the bible. He was also assured, if he obeyed, that a man named Peter would tell him what to do. It is interesting that we are never told directly what Cornelius was praying about, but from what Peter would have to say, it seems that Cornelius wanted to know what he needed to do to be right with God (Cf. 11:13-14). Cornelius was a man of some means, so he sent two of his servants and a devout soldier. Considering the mission before them, it was important that the soldier he sent also be devout.