There is a fundamental point in Acts 10 arising from Peter’s words in Caesarea. By God’s Spirit he is caused to travel there after receiving a strange vision on a house rooftop in Joppa.
Peter is surprised that the Spirit has directed him to go to the home of a Gentile. He finds the centurion and Cornelius together with his relatives and close friends gathered to greet him. His is astonished when the Holy Spirit falls on his Gentile listeners, most, or maybe all, being Romans! After he had testified to them about the teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, Holy Spirit power comes upon them all and they talk in other languages. Peter and his companions from Joppa hear them “speaking in tongues and extolling God” (verse 46).
The bestowal of divine power was a key factor in the spread of the gospel outside the Jewish nation. It is intriguing to consider the testimony to Christianity among Roman historians, especially Tacitus. This shows that belief in Jesus and following him was so strong in Roman about 30 years later that the Emperor Nero put hundreds of them to death.
Remember the involvement of several Roman Centurions with Jesus and the way some of them responded to him and his healing power. There is an unrecorded story here that will only be made known at the resurrection.
All too few verses summarize Peter’s words to Cornelius, but verse 43 is especially worthy of consideration if we think about its precise phraseology. “To him (Jesus)” Peter said, “all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
It is far more than knowing about Jesus and accepting what you learn as true. It is more than simply arriving at a correct understanding of his message! In short – it is far more than “head knowledge”. The word “in” indicates a real relationship is essential. Do you believe IN Jesus?