Sitting here in the Roman theater at Caesarea, I am thinking of all the history here. Herod built this harbor using divers to sink large stones. Peter came here to find Cornelius to bring the news of Yeshua to him. Paul was on trial here before Herod Agrippa. In the fourth century there was a bishop here named Eusebius. His history is the main source of our knowledge of early Christian centuries.
Of all these happenings, it is the story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 and 11 that has me pondering in awe. This Roman town in Israel seems the ideal place for the first Roman God-fearer to join the Yeshua movement.
This is where the non-Jews first came into the fold. Who knew what tragedy this would lead to for Jews? Eusebius represents the loss of love for Israel represented by Cornelius, his predecessor. By the time of Eusebius, love for the Jewish fathers was rare. Trying to find their place in God’s plan, the Christians imagined they replaced the Jews.
Still, even humanity’s greatest sins are all to be redeemed by the God of Israel. In the last of the last days, John pictured two groups in parallel. First, he saw 144,000, the vanguard of Israel. Then he saw a countless multitude of non-Jews waving palm branches and thus keeping Tabernacles per Zechariah 14:16.
The Jews and the Christians together before the end. And it all started here, in Caesarea.