Acts 10:15, “ And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common”
Many of us have been told by our parents when we were growing up, “Don’t talk to strangers.” The reason for that is that our parents didn’t know what certain strangers would say or do to our children. Hence it was a safety precaution for us as kids. Perhaps you are now a parent and you have passed the same caution onto your children. However, can this same wisdom be implored when it comes to obeying God to share the Gospel? It would seem that the same sentiment has crepted into the church manifesting itself as don’t talk to strangers about Christ only those you know and trust. Hence obeying our traditional rule from our parents and bringing into Christianity has manifested itself in disobeying our Heavenly Father when it comes to obeying His Gospel.
Perhaps Peter was taught by his parents not to talk to strangers, and as a “good Jewish person,” he obeyed that very well. However, Jesus made it very clear in numerous encounters with Peter:
- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen, (Matthew 28:19-20)
- “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “, (Mark 16:15)
- “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”, (Acts 1:8)
The Great Commission was made clear by Jesus, as to who the disciples were to go to and where, ALL the nations, EVERY creature, and to the END OF THE EARTH. Yet, Peter had a problem with taking the Gospel to “strangers”, the Gentiles. Therefore, God gave him what may seem like a bizarre vision. Peter had gone up to the roof top to pray, “10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.”
Peter was hungry, and was in prayer, but the Lord was getting at a different kind of hunger as He dealt with Peter. Didn’t Peter remember his account with Jesus and the woman of Samaria (John 4)? Peter had come back with all the other disciples from getting lunch and they came upon Jesus talking with the Samaritan women. This was a no, no in that culture for three reasons. First, Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans and actually looked down upon them. Secondly, a man would not be caught talking with women. Thirdly, a Rabbi would not be found speaking with a woman. Jesus broke three cultural norms, all at once. He tried to use this account as a teachable moment about eating and evangelism. John 4:32-35, “32 His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” There was a spiritual meal Jesus emphasized, spiritual nourishment that came from doing the very will of the Father. We all know what it is like to be full from physical food and the physical hunger that precedes it, but do be spiritually filled is a different matter from physical food.
Ravi Zacharias points out this same type of amazing reality in his book titled Jesus among Other gods. He points out “When Jesus said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body…Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant’ (Matthew 26:26-28), He was not speaking in a cultural vacuum to consign His followers to cannibalism. Rather, His words were intended to life listeners from their barren, food – dominated existence to the recognition of the supreme hunger of life that could only be filled by different bread. It was in that very journey under Moses that He had first told them that physical bread had limited sustenance. He wanted to meet a greater hunger.” Blessings Pastor Phil