Peter informed Cornelius that Jesus was a preacher with a message of peace (v. 36). In other words, Jesus was the reconciler between God and man. His kingdom would be composed of those who were at peace with God. How did Jesus become this? First, he is the Messiah who was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power in order to overcome the powers of darkness, which overpowering was revealed in his acts of compassion and deliverance that he performed while enjoying the presence of God throughout it all (vv. 37-38). This would be encouraging to Cornelius because he was a sinner needing divine compassion and deliverance.
Second, Jesus died a death that Cornelius, with his knowledge of the Old Testament, would have realised was a death of a person who was cursed by God (v. 39). Crucifixion was cruel, but in Jesus’ case he was also treated as an outcast from heaven by the God with whom he had enjoyed communion. No doubt Peter expanded on this aspect and told Cornelius that Jesus had taken the place of sinners when he suffered divine judgement on the cross.
Third, Peter informed Cornelius and the other listeners that Jesus had been raised from the dead by God the Father. The one who had brought Jesus to the dust of death at Calvary raised him from the dead three days later. Peter’s point is that the one who treated Jesus as a curse now treated him as a conqueror. His resurrection is evidence that his act of atonement for the sins of others was accepted, and we can imagine Cornelius’ sense of wonder as he listened to Peter’s preaching.
Fourth, Peter reminded Cornelius that Jesus had chosen witnesses to testify to his life, death and resurrection. They were not merely to recite historical details. In addition, they had to stress two possible consequences for everyone (vv. 42-43). One is that the risen Jesus will yet be the Judge of all people and the other is that the risen Jesus can forgive sinners. Jesus has ambassadors with a crucial message – condemnation by Jesus or forgiveness through Jesus. Imagine Cornelius as he listened to what Jesus had done (life, death and resurrection), would yet do (judge), and could do for him right away (forgive). The point of forgiveness is very important because it takes place when a sinner is found by the seeking Saviour.