At Caesarea there is a Roman centurion. The Romans were foreign overlords of the Jewish people are generally oppressive and hated. Cornelius however fears God. One wonders how a Roman stationed in Judea came to associate himself with the religion of Abraham and Moses. Would he have been mocked by his Roman countrymen? He fears God but he has not become circumcised and become a full member of Judaism. Nevertheless, his piety is expressed in his having shared his faith with his wife, children, servants, and those soldiers associated with his household. He also gave alms to the poor among the Jewish people while praying continually to God. His story looks good but for all his piety what he needs to know the gospel about Jesus.
God responds to his prayers at the hour of prayer in a vision of an angel from God who informs Cornelius that God has remembered his prayers and alms and that Cornelius is to “send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” Cornelius will respond in obedience to the instruction he has been given. The question though is whether Peter will visit a Roman centurion when everything he knows culturally would say ‘no’.