In the opening of this chapter, we meet Cornelius. Could this description be you? “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” Cornelius had a vision of an angel of God and he was thrown into fear. He had such a relationship with God that he discerned this was from the Lord, and he asked, “What is it, Lord?” The angel told Cornelius his prayers and gifts had been recognized by God. And he instructed Cornelius to send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon Peter. Cornelius did as he was instructed. I pray we live such lives that we have the ability to discern the Spirit of God and obey.
When we go to verse 9, we see that Peter went on the roof to pray while the meal was being prepared, and he fell into a trance and had a vision. In this vision, he saw a sheet that had all types of animals. The voice told Peter to kill and eat. Because this was against the Jewish law, he questioned the instruction. The voice told Peter, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times and the vision was over. In the mean time, the three men sent by Cornelius had arrived and asked for Peter. Peter, still on the roof and contemplating the vision, was told by the Spirit that three men were looking for him and to not hesitate to go with them. Peter did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at the home of Cornelius, he was greeted by Cornelius falling at his feet. Peter asked Cornelius to stand up and said, “I am only a man myself.” He was letting Cornelius know he was not worthy of such an honor, but a peer. I pray that we can always see our humble place and not allow others to put us on a pedestal for the “honor”. I also pray that we do not place ourselves higher than others or look down on others for any reason.
As Peter goes into the home, he addresses the gathered crowd, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” Cornelius relays the vision. Peter let them know that God has made the realization clear that He does not show favoritism, but accepts men of every nation. Peter tells of Christ being killed by the Jewish leaders and being raised from the dead. He tells how, those chosen, had seen and “fellowshipped” with Jesus after the resurrection and how He had commanded them to preach and testify that He is the one God had sent for the forgiveness of sins. While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. Those Jewish believers, who had come with Peter, were amazed that even the Gentiles could receive the Spirit. I pray that we do not hold back in sharing the Gospel with all we meet. I pray that we can be as unbiased as Christ. I pray that we allow Him to work through us so that we do not pick and choose those we feel are more “worthy” than others, but be available to serve all and share God’s saving Faith with everyone.