Sunday, December 23, 2018

Cornelius at Caesarea

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. Acts 10:1-2
  • Caesarea was one of the main Roman political cities in then-occupied Israel. It was built by Herod the Great between 25 to 13 BC, and it was named after Caesar Augustus, who also famously ordered the census in Luke 2:1
  • The name, Cornelius, possibly derives from Latin, cornu which means "horn."
  • A centurion was an army officer who was responsible for one hundred soldiers.
  • Cohort was made up of between 400 to 600 soldiers usually. However, when it is an auxiliary group, it was made up of 1000 men. It is likely that in this verse, this cohort refers to 1000 auxiliary soldiers. At the time, most soldiers stationed in Caesarea were Syrians as per Josephus. (1)
  • However, this particular cohort had a name, Italian Cohort, and it likely refers to the fact that they were mostly Italians, and likely volunteers.  (1)
  • Cornelius gave alms generously to the people. He honoured God and lent to the Lord. "Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honours him." (Proverbs 14:31) "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed." (Proverbs 19:17)
  • However, we need to be careful that we do not do it to be seen and praised by others. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
1. Biblehub, Pulpit commentary, (accessed on 23/12/2018)

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