This evening in our series ‘The Miraculous & The Mundane’, we looked at Acts 10, where Cornelius and Peter both receive miraculous visions and dreams which lead to Cornelius and his household coming to a living faith in Jesus Christ. Not only does this show us how God works to bring people to faith, we see how Peter’s understanding of the gospel message is enlarged to include Gentiles as well as Jews.
It seems that God is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to bring people to know Him – and this is tremendously reassuring to know. Cornelius, a devout and God-fearing man, directly sees an angel who tells him to send servants to find Peter. Peter, praying whilst waiting for food, sees a vision of a sheet from heaven filled with four-footed animals, reptiles and birds and is told to ‘kill and eat’ – a command which baffles him since, as a devout Jew, he has always followed God’s dietary laws. Peter does not really understand what this vision (which he sees three times) means, but whilst he is pondering this, Cornelius’s servants arrive. He realises that ‘I should not call anyone impure or unclean’ (Acts 10:28) and that ‘God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.’ (Acts 10:34-35) Thus, a new chapter in evangelism begins as Peter realises the scope of the gospel is for all people, not just for Jews.
God is able to use ‘divine coincidences’ to grab our attention and to focus us on God. Often, the means of these coincidences may seem quite mundane or on the other hand might be difficult to understand, but if we are listening to the Spirit of God, He is more than able to nudge us in the right direction, bring the right people across our paths and use us to preach the gospel message of salvation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “We must be prepared to have God interrupt us.” God interrupting us could be the very definition of a miracle! Cornelius and Peter were both going about their ordinary lives when God interrupted them. The interruption was unusual, but resulted in a meeting which led to salvation. May God interrupt us and use us to bring the gospel message of salvation to a hungry and seeking world.