SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- At first glance, Peter's vision about food may seem like a weird hunger-induced dream, but its actual meaning was significant. Peter realized that the dream meant God did not consider any man unclean or impure. In the law God gave to the Jews, there were certain animals that could be eaten (called "clean") and others that were not allowed to be eaten ("unclean"). Similarly, there were diseases, like leprosy, that made people unclean. Jewish law taught that unclean foods and people were not to be visited. But God told Peter that he should not call any man or people group unclean and should not avoid them; they are all created equal in God's sight.
- Peter begins to tell people, regardless of their heritage, about Jesus. Many of these decide to give their lives to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of them. It's kind of weird-sounding, but the Holy Spirit is God's presence that helps give supernatural guidance, strength and direction to people who have decided to follow Jesus.
- The people who listen to Peter and decide to follow Jesus are baptized.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- God does not prefer any one group of people over another, and he wants his followers to be from every background. Regardless of where you come from, what you've done, or whatever problems or bad habits you think you have, God loves you and wants a relationship with you.
- If you've given your life to Jesus then the Holy Spirit is a free gift to you to help you make decisions and overcome problems that you couldn't handle on your own. Also, baptism is a great way to make official your decision to follow Jesus.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- If you feel like your background or bad habits or past prevent God from wanting a relationship with you, today's reading shows that he doesn't care about where you come from or where you've been. He is inviting you to a future life with him that is abundant and full and fulfilling.
- If you've given your life to Jesus, is there a group of people you tend to avoid? Maybe a clique at school, or a group of coworkers? Talk to God and ask him to help you overcome your reluctance to show them his love.
- Have you decided to give your life to God? If so, a great way to go public with that is through baptism. You can learn more about baptism here.