Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
Here we are introduced to a good man and his family. Cornelius is a man over a hundred Roman soldiers. And he is a Gentile.
This leads us to think about the millions of people who lived before the time of Jesus who also were not Israelites and therefore were not living under the Law of Moses.
We might question. What kind of relationship with God was possible for all these people? Before the time when Jesus united both Jews and Gentiles in a unified global fellowship?
Apparently, it was possible for Gentiles to please God even without the Law of Moses. God was accepting them as their consciences led them to seek to please Him.
Of course, whether Jew or Gentile, God was forgiving and accepting them based on one very important future event – the death of Jesus for the sins of everyone who ever lived, past, present and future!
It is interesting that this man is recognized by God as reverent and devout. In fact, there are two particular things about Cornelius’s life that gain God’s approval. His prayers and his help to the poor!
An angel tells Cornelius that these actions are noticed by God and have created a personal memorial for him before God.
Students of Jesus are not surprised. When Jesus came to earth, His own life was full of both prayer and help to the poor.
Cornelius not only receives special recognition from God, he is about to be given a very special honor. He and his household will become the first Gentile students of Jesus!
Peter will be a reluctant instrument of God to bring the Good News of Jesus to Gentile Cornelius. But as we shall see in the Book of Acts, it will be Saul who is chosen to carry the Message to the Gentile nations.