Cornelius was a centurion in the Italian Regiment and was stationed at Caesarea which was located about 33 miles to the north of Joppa. It was the capital of the Roman occupied Judea. Since it was a major seaport and fell on the main caravan route from Tyre to Egypt, it had a vast and diverse demography….
…the people who lived during the time of Jesus had the law as their deterrent without understanding its importance of implying it in their life. The law acted as a parameter to levy punishment rather than people adhering to it. By the same law Jesus was convicted for blasphemy.
The baptism of Cornelius is an important event in the history of the Early Church. The gates of the Church, within which thus far only those who were circumcised and observed the Law of Moses had been admitted, were now thrown open to the uncircumcised Gentiles without the obligation of submitting to the Jewish ceremonial laws.- Florentine Bechtel