In a way, the events in Acts 10 shouldn’t have happened. I’ve already mentioned before that I really believe that the early church was being disobedient to the Great Commission by focusing all their attention on the Jews and in Jerusalem. It was perfectly understandable, and I certainly can’t claim total innocence in this regard, but we have to call a spade a spade.
If the church had been obedient to her instructions left by her Savior, then Cornelius likely wouldn't have needed an angel to direct him to a Christian. I’m glad Cornelius got saved, but the fact that God had to supernaturally intervene with angels in order to bring him into contact with the Good News is not a good sign. I really hope we’re doing better than that.
Let’s talk for a moment about angels, because I think this is a very important point to consider. When the angel appeared, the only thing he told Cornelius was where to go to hear the Message: “Go to this guy on this street and ask for Peter. He’ll tell you what you need to know.” I find that fascinating.
Right now, there are legions upon legions upon legions around the Throne in Heaven. Each one of these angels are incredibly more powerful than you or I could ever hope to be in this life. Almost every time you see an angel appear to someone, the first words out of the angel’s mouth are “Don’t be afraid!” They're luminescent with God’s glory. The stone-cold killing machines known as Roman soldiers fainted dead away at the sight of one. One angel—yes, one angel—killed 185,000 soldiers overnight.
And every one of these angels delights to obey and bring glory to their Creator. Let’s do a thought experiment: If the Lord on his throne said “I’d like to spread the news about my Son to this tribe of nomads in this area. Do I have any volunteers?” My friend, all the angels present would trip all over themselves in rushing forward to volunteer. And if one of them showed up to tell people about Jesus, I think they’d get a lot of attention, don’t you? It’d be hard to dismiss the word of a being like this!
But no. The Lord Almighty, in his wisdom, has chosen to bypass all those volunteers and has chosen. . . you. And he’s chosen me. Can I be frank here? An angel’s not going to chicken out of telling people. He’s not going to mess up the message. He’s not going to get caught doing something that undermines his witness. To my limited understanding, he’d make a much better evangelist and missionary than you or I would be. But God hasn’t chosen any angel. He’s picked us to be his ambassadors and representatives to a lost and dying world. Wow.
So what do we mean when we talk about a seeker? It seems pretty obvious: It’s someone who’s seeking God. Cornelius seems to be the perfect example of one. But we need to be careful here. Paul makes it abundantly clear: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” So is all the talk about “seekers” just baloney? No. But we need to get our definition right. On our own initiative, we'll never seek God. Like Lewis put it, talking about man’s search for God is like talking about a mouse’s search for a cat.
But behind the scenes, God can, through the Holy Spirit, be preparing someone’s heart to hear the Good News. Maybe a death in the family or problems in their marriage or a bad doctor’s report can be the catalyst. We have people in our church who were never interested in anything concerning God until they had children. That woke them up. Whatever it is, the Spirit can do his supernatural work (which only he can do) to soften someone’s heart. That’s a seeker.
So what does this mean? It means we need to pray for the Spirit to work in the hearts of the lost. And we need to be on the lookout for signs that the Lord is doing things in someone’s life. And we need a sense of wonder that the Lord of the universe has chosen me to be his representative. I have to say it again. Wow.
Father, to say I feel totally inadequate for this task is a real understatement. But you've passed by all those angels and picked me to be your messenger. OK, who’s ready? Whom do you want me to approach today? How can I be your hands, your mouth today?