Here are a few thoughts from today’s chapter.
- After experiencing the vision, Cornelius responded immediately by sending for Peter, just as instructed. And the same with Peter: he went with the foreign men who had arrived at the house immediately after receiving his vision from God. Both these men acted quick and decisively on what God had told them. And notice that they were only given instructions, not an explanation. If you received instructions from God, would you expect to hear why? It’s a common theme in the Bible that God doesn’t tell his messengers the whole plan. When we ask for God’s guidance, we should expect to obey without the assurance of knowing how things will turn out. When do you ask God for guidance? In what areas of your life are you afraid or unwilling to ask for guidance?
- By the time Peter got to Cornelius’ house, he had figured out what God meant by the vision. His conclusion was that God did not consider any man unclean or impure. In the law God gave to the Jews, there were certain animals that were to be eaten (clean) and others that were not to be eaten (unclean). Similarly, there were diseases, like leprosy, that made people unclean. Peter grew up being taught that unclean foods and people were to be avoided. And from this chapter it seems that people who were not Jews were considered unclean and were not to be associated with or visited. But God told Peter that he should not call any man or people group unclean and should not avoid them. God does not prefer any one group of people over another, and he wants his followers to be from every nation.
- After Peter preaches the good news about Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes on his non-Jewish audience. The Jews who had come with Peter were amazed that God had chosen to pour out His Spirit on these foreigners. Peter’s conclusion about the vision God gave him is now concrete, and we can say that it’s not who or what you are that gets you close to God; the Holy Spirit is for every race and people. Is there a people group that you have chosen to avoid like the Jews had grown accustomed to doing? Maybe a clique at school? Or a group that excludes you? Ask God to show you his love for these people.
- Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman