If you thought the last chapter was pretty radical with God opening up the door for the Gospel message to save all people of all different races, religions and families, how do you think it would’ve felt to report this news to the religious people who started criticizing him for eating unclean food with the *GASP* unclean uncircumcised people. So then Peter explains to them what had happened and just think through this scene:
The Heaven opens up. Maybe you’re expecting Jesus or one of the great fathers of the faith in the OT. Instead you have the Cincinnati Zoo coming down on a great white sheet. I don’t know if they’re running down somehow keeping their balance, sliding down tripping all over each other and it’s like a snowball effect. I just know that I’d be expecting an army of angels or Jesus, not Noah’s ark.
And then a voice comes from heaven and it says… “RISE, PETER; KILL AND EAT”
Now if this was Davy Crocket or Bear Grylls, I’m sure they’d be like “yeah sure, no problem.” But it wasn’t. This was a good-by-the-book Messianic Jew who knew his food laws and knew that was a big no-no in God’s eyes. If you think a PETA person’s reaction would’ve been bad, imagine a guy trying to live for God.
Remember, the Jews were looked upon as set apart from the world based off what they ate. They were God’s CHOSEN people. Peter knew this and practiced this.
Now God is telling Peter, “I have made it clean. Don’t call it common.” Within the Jewish church there was prejudice for those people—the Gentiles—and the way they lived. We know this based off the story of the woman at the well and how they would go around Samaria. Those Jews intermingled with the Gentiles.
And this happened THREE TIMES! I think God was trying to make a point here.
And Peter finally “got it” and obeyed the Lord, preaching the Gospel and seeing the Holy Spirit save Gentiles. But how would this church, mostly made up of former Jews who believed in Jesus as Savior respond? Verse 18 says they first fell silent. Can you imagine the tension? The dramatic pause? But then they glorified God for what He did, for what He was doing. Unlike others, they didn’t hold onto past traditions and biases. They knew that they worshipped not only a holy God but a loving God who desired all people to come to Him, and He was starting to make it happen in this new era of the church.
What did you notice from today’s passage?
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor