From Trials to Triumph


Frail, Tempted Humans Are the Messengers

The angel was not commissioned to tell Cornelius the story of the cross. A man subject to human frailties and temptations was to tell him of the crucified and risen Saviour. As His representatives God does not choose angels, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that He might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Ephesians 3:8. The Lord brings those who are seeking for truth into touch with fellow beings who know the truth. Those who have received light are to impart it to those in darkness. Humanity is made the working agency through which the gospel exercises its transforming power. TT 71.4

Cornelius was gladly obedient. When the angel had gone, he “called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; and when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.” TT 72.1

After his interview with Cornelius, the angel went to Peter. At the time, he was praying on the housetop of his lodging, and “became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance.” It was not for physical food alone that Peter hungered; he hungered for the salvation of his countrymen. He had an intense desire to point out to them the prophecies relating to Christ. TT 72.2

In the vision Peter saw “a great sheet... . In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, you must not call common.’ This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.” RSV. TT 72.3

This vision revealed to Peter the purpose of God—that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews to the blessings of salvation. As yet none of the disciples had preached the gospel to Gentiles. In their minds the Gentiles were excluded from the blessings of the gospel. Now the Lord was seeking to teach Peter the world-wide extent of the divine plan. TT 72.4

Many Gentiles had listened to the preaching of Peter and the other apostles, and many Greek Jews had become believers in Christ, but the conversion of Cornelius was to be the first of importance among Gentiles. The door that many Jewish converts had closed against Gentiles was now to be thrown open. Gentiles who accepted the gospel were to be equal with Jewish disciples, without the necessity of circumcision. TT 72.5

How carefully the Lord worked to overcome the prejudice in Peter's mind! By the vision He sought to teach that in heaven there is no respect of persons. Through Christ the heathen may be made partakers of the privileges of the gospel. TT 73.1

While Peter was meditating on the vision, the men sent from Cornelius arrived and stood before his lodginghouse. Then the Spirit said to him, “Three men are looking for you. Rise and go down, and accompany them without hesitation; for I have sent them.” RSV. TT 73.2