During this time, Gentiles and Jews remain separate people groups. Their interactions are limited at best, so much so that even Peter, tasked with spreading the Gospel to as many people as possible, avoids Gentiles.
Cornelius is a Gentile. Though described as a “devout man and one who feared God with all is household,” he still maintained his identity as a Gentile. In response to his prayers and alms, he receives a vision of an angel of God, telling him to find Peter. Peter himself receives a message of from God, letting him know he is being called upon.
Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house to much fanfare, but Peter reminds everybody that he is just a man, and of the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. He explains, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for.” Peter proceeds to preach the Gospel of Jesus to the crowd, during which time the Holy Spirit fell upon those in the crowd.
Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” This idea did not exist previously. Peter broke the mold, as instructed by God, changing the course of humanity. May our personal prejudices and misgivings never let us stand in the way of spreading the word of Jesus to anyone who has yet to receive that good news.