Peter, Cornelius and a God Who Sees All

My husband is a fan of split screens and simulcasts. The more the merrier. One corner of the TV can play a football game, while the opposite corner shows something completely different. The bottom half of the screen competes with baseball and men in suits.

It kinda drives me crazy.

It’s too much happening at once.

Life reminds me somewhat of a split screen. There are so many things happening simultaneously, yet we see so little of it because we concentrate on just one picture. Our own.

I’m sure, those who lived out the stories in the Bible felt much the same.    

The stories of Peter and Cornelius in the book of Acts made me think of a simulcast because of all the moving parts.

While Peter was staying with Simon the tanner in Joppa, (Acts 9:42-43) something else was going on in the town of Caesarea, some thirty plus miles away.

A centurion named Cornelius, he himself not a Jew, but a God-fearing man, had a vision. In it he was instructed to send men to Joppa where one Peter stayed with a tanner named Simon. “He will tell you what you must do,” (Acts 10:6 NKJV).

Like simultaneous screens the shift goes back to Joppa where Peter too had a vision. What he saw jarred him. A sheet full of clean and unclean animals descended from heaven. His identity, steeped in Jewish law and tradition would never have participated in a meal of unclean meat.

A voice said, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” (Acts 10:13) Peter was hungry, but not that hungry. He vehemently refused to eat meat prohibited by Jewish law.

While these things were happening simultaneously, God’s purpose encompassed much more than either Peter’s scene in Joppa or Cornelius’ in Caesarea. It extended all the way to us today.

“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean,” a voice repeated three times to Peter. (Acts 10:15 NIV) While Peter was still trying to figure it all out, Cornelius’ friends, Gentiles, considered “unchosen, and  unclean,” knocked at his door.

Peter opened wide the door and invited them in. The vision prepared him to accept Gentiles, sent by God, into his home.

What started like separate stories with nothing in common, turned into a divine meeting. Two separate visions and stories confirmed God at work in both. He was inviting all to feast on Jesus’ gospel of death and resurrection. It must have seemed as if all the bits and pieces joined into one big glorious picture.

Peter went to Caesarea with Cornelius’ friends and brought along some of his own friends. When he got to Cornelius’ home not only was Cornelius waiting for Peter, but Cornelius’ friends and relatives waited too.

The house was full of souls ready and wanting to hear about Jesus.

Converts multiplied. Miracles continued. The Holy Spirit moved. Every ethnic group, every tongue, every segment of society, men, and women, were transformed as they gave their lives to Jesus, and the church grew.

There were a million things happening all at once like simulcasts gone wild.Every ethnic group, every tongue, every segment of society, men, and women, were transformed as they gave their lives to Jesus, and the church grew. Share on X

I wish I could see the split screens of life with broader perspective. I wonder at times how this time in history, my particular situation, or my struggles could possibly matter to God, or to others. What place do they have in this grand picture of existence?

Every life touches so many others. In our every circumstance God works simultaneously bringing His glory into our dark scenes of sorrow, and into those bright with joy. He moves in the details, shaping them to His will. The glimpse we see in a corner of our world, is just a slice of a bigger more glorious picture.

When the Apostle Paul spoke to the people of Athens on a platform surrounded by idols, he declared Jesus, the unknown Sovereign God, alone worthy of worship, powerfully in control of each situation, and the principal character in each and every segment.

  “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (Acts 17:26 NIV)

Nothing escapes Him.

God sees our life’s kaleidoscopic happenings, and knows how all of it fits together. Someday, perhaps not on this earth but in eternity, we will see it too, and worship at the magnitude of His glorious hand.

8 Replies

  1. Barbara Latta Reply

    Thanks for sharing this powerful contrast of the split screen with story of Peter and Cornelius. This does show us how what we expect can turn out differently.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Barbara. I wonder what the split screen looks for me today as my concentration is on keeping three little grandson’s!!

  2. Don Pahl Reply

    Great perspective and insight, Sylvia. Thank you.

  3. Emily Kate Huffman Reply

    Love it!

  4. Katherine Pasour Reply

    “Every life touches so many others.” That’s true–and it reminds us of the responsibility we have to share Jesus with others. Thank you for sharing Scipture that shows us how Jesus worked in the lives of the early Christians and how He continues to work in our lives.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Oh my Katherine, yes it does. The value of every life and the treasure of Jesus. Thank you for that both sobering and marvelously joyous reminder!!