Acts 10

Acts 10 gives us the story of Cornelius.  He was a good man who was tuned in to God.  He “saw clearly in a vision” an angel who told him to send for Peter who was in another place.  So Cornelius sends off a few of his servants to retrieve Peter.  God spoke to him and he listened and obeyed.  If you are looking for a playbook on how our spiritual relationship with God should look – here it is.  A devout follower – scripture tells us Cornelius “feared God….gave alms generously…..prayed continually”.  Now there is a list of success factors for Christ Followers.  As Cornelius is hearing from and obeying God, Peter is in Joppa down the road a ways and doing the same thing – he is praying.  Peter “fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending…..in it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds”.  God tells Peter to get up and eat as he was hungry.  Of course Peter says no because some of these were unclean by Jewish standards.  He was a devout follower of the customs and law.  But God says this: “What God has made clean, do not call common”.  God is persisting and actually “this happens three times” just to make sure Peter gets the message loud and clear.  God’s vision here is not really about food as we will find out a bit later.

As Peter is praying and pondering his vision, God speaks to him some more: “the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation”.  God has a plan for Peter to get outside his comfort zone and have his territory expanded.  So Peter meets the men sent to retrieve him and goes back to meet Cornelius.  Of course Cornelius has a plan to connect Peter with all his relatives and close friends, so they are all gathered and waiting.  Interesting how God times all this out isn’t it – not surprising what can be done when He sees and controls all the details in life.  Peter shares the message of his vision with them that “God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean”.  Peter was sent there to share the message of Jesus Christ.  It was to a people he really hadn’t planned to share with, but that is where God called him and he obediently went.  Here is the truth Peter shares: “in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him”.  Becoming a Christ Follower is not dependent on our genes or background or where we live – it is about our heart.  It is about trust and obedience.  It is about knowing Jesus and making Him Lord of our life.  Peter’s eyes are opened to that truth this day.  And as he preached, the people responded and came to Jesus. They received the gift that God offered and were saved.  And Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”.  There was no waiting around to get permission from someone to let these folks be saved.  God moved, Peter obeyed, and people became Christ Followers.  Peter could have refused to go.  He could have just blown off the visions – even though God made it clear three times just so Peter was sure to understand.  But Peter got out of the box, followed God’s direction, and was part of the harvest.  Are you listening to His call and responding the same way?

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