On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
As a pork and shrimp loving person, I am very glad for this passage. Being from a half Filipino/half German descent, I am even more eternally grateful. Leviticus 11 described the dietary restrictions that God placed on the Israelites in order to separate them from the idolatrous ways of heathen nations. He also used this diet to protect and preserve the Israelites from health issues during OT times. But now things were different because the Messiah had already come and had paid the price for our sins.
Hungry Peter goes to the rooftop to pray around noon, and he has a vision. God graciously shows him this vision 3 times to make sure Peter gets the point. With the death and ascension of Jesus Christ, the New Covenant was established. God was helping Peter realize that there was now a New Covenant that would join Jew and Gentile together because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-13). This was a totally foreign concept to everyone, especially the Jews. The Jewish believers were now free to eat things that they used to think were unclean and they also were now allowed to associate with those of other nations.
It is no coincidence that while Peter was having this vision, Cornelius’ men were at the door waiting to see Peter. They knew there was a huge possibility that Peter would not go with them. However, the Holy Spirit had already prepared Peter’s heart and thinking.
How amazing that God was so gracious to clearly help Peter in the way he should respond to these Roman men! God didn’t spring things on him. Through Peter’s vision, God showed him clearly and patiently three times how Peter was to respond. This went against all Jewish tradition and Peter obeyed God rather than men. How do we respond to God’s clear leading?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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