Wednesday, 21 September 2022
As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. Acts 10:25
Cornelius was waiting for the arrival of Peter and those who came with him, and he had called his relatives and close friends to join him. Now, it says, “As Peter was coming in.”
The Greek is more specific and appropriately reads, “And when it came to pass that Peter entered.” While reading, Luke almost gives the sense of the events as if they are occurring. There is motion and response being conveyed. The idea here is that Peter had not fully entered the house because, in verse 10:27, it will note that he fully enters. It is at this moment that, “Cornelius met him.”
One can see how excitedly he anticipated the coming of Peter, knowing that he held the key to the promised words of the messenger that had been sent from God. And in this state of excited confusion, it next says, “and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.” Even as Peter was in the act of entering the house, Cornelius simply dropped to his knees and made obeisance to him. The word is proskuneó.
Using HELPS Word Studies as a guide to define the various ideas it conveys, it is from prós, “towards,” and kyneo, “to kiss.” It thus signifies to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready to fall down/prostrate oneself; to adore on one's knees; to “do obeisance.” HELPS also notes that, on Egyptian reliefs, worshipers are represented with an outstretched hand throwing a kiss to the deity, and so it has been (metaphorically) described as "the kissing-ground" between believers (the Bride) and Christ (the heavenly Bridegroom). The word suggests the willingness to make all necessary physical gestures of obeisance.
With these thoughts in mind, it can be seen that Cornelius may possibly think that Peter is the promised Messiah of Israel. Living in the land and being a man who feared God, it may be that he had heard of the promise of a coming Messiah. The messenger did not describe Peter, but simply said, “He will tell you what you must do” (10:6).
This is not unlike the question proposed to Jesus –
“Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” Luke 18:18
Cornelius has been told that Peter will tell him what he must do, meaning that he has the answer to man’s problem. Possibly assuming that he has been sent by God, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. This is speculation, but it is well-grounded in the action he has taken. Although it is true Peter has been sent by God, meaning first by Jesus who is God as an apostle, and then by the Spirit who has directed him through the trance on the rooftop, he is neither the Messiah nor is he worthy of worship.
Life application: Cornelius was excited about hearing the good news. Not knowing the details of who Peter was, there was the assumption that he was worthy of special obeisance. That will be corrected in the coming verse. But the excitement of Cornelius to receive the good news is what is focused on in this verse.
He is not alone. There are people all over the world who are seeking out God in one way or another. This tells us that many really want to know the truth. Until the truth of God in Christ is presented to them, they are susceptible to being led astray. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are great at getting out and knocking on doors. If someone is presented with their false message before someone shares the true gospel, they very well may accept it.
From there, the process of brainwashing is quick and efficient. Few ever leave their cult. How sad it is to think that we could lose a family member, a close friend, or a coworker to them simply because we were unwilling to share our own faith. Lives are ruined by them because others have simply failed to act.
Be quick but precise, and be open to repeating your faith until it sinks in. There are others who are doing just that, but what they share is darkness, not the light of Christ. So be ready to share now, while you can!
Lord God, help us to speak out about our faith in Jesus. He is the only answer to the sin problem that infects us all. Without meeting the true Jesus, our sin will never be dealt with. And so, help us to be responsible with the faith we possess so that the truth of God in Christ is shared! Amen.