The vision was still fresh as he tried not to stumble off the housetop. Walking, pacing, blinking, praying. Trying to understand or at least stop hearing and seeing. But God's words still echoed in his mind...
"What God has made clean, do not call common."
The image was still burned into his mind's eye...
A great sheet spread out upon the earth with hundreds of kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. All unclean.
Why would God tell him to eat that stuff?
Peter could hear loud talking on the street, and he peaked over the rooftop to see what was happening. One of Peter's traveling companions had answered the door, and was talking with a group of men. The men looked like Romans or Greeks - Peter couldn't really tell from up there. Regardless, it probably didn't concern him.
Just then, the familiar sensation overtook him. The feeling of being pulled away from all the sights and sounds of the world to hear Him.
"Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them."
Peter blinked. Without hesitation? Since when did God tell them to cohort with Gentiles and heathens? But then Peter recalled God's previous words. "What God has made clean, do not call common." Was this what God was trying to tell him? Spinning around, Peter bounded down the ladder into the house. He didn't entirely understand, but if God was telling him to go to the Gentiles, who was he to call them unworthy?
Based on Acts 10:17-21
"The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' But Peter said, 'By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.' And the voice came to him again a second time, 'What God has made clean, do not call common. 'This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, 'Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.' And Peter went down to the men and said, 'I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?'" Acts 10:9-21
Now, I know Peter made a mistake later with the Gentiles. He gave into peer pressure, which was something I talked about last week here and here. However, there is something you need to understand.
Peter was the first to go to the Gentiles. The first. He did this crazy, unthought-of, unheard of thing. Every instinct told him no, not to go. God had to convince him with food before Cornelius' men even arrived. Peter was brave. In a way, he went were no man had gone before.
How many of us, would have dared to do what Peter did? They were already facing persecution. They were already in the midst of something new and hard. They were already serving. Why bother with this? Not only that, why bother with people who were "unclean?" People who didn't belong to God - or so they thought. Peter was brave when he listened to God and obedient to His will. Braver then I am about 99% of the time.
If God asked you to be the first to do something crazy, bold, and new, would you do it? Would you be willing to be the first one to step in the unknown for Him and His will? Would you be brave?
V. Joy Palmer