“Are you kidding us, Peter?” The circumcised early Christians criticized Peter and demanded he explain why he dared to eat with “those Gentiles,” who might have accepted the word of God but were not yet circumcised. Peter answered by describing in great detail his experiences that led to his otherwise unthinkable actions.
First, Peter saw a vision while praying that spoke to his heart about reframing and reconsidering what is clean and acceptable to eat. The repetitive frequency of three times (v. 10) indicated the possibility of God’s determination and persistence in making sure that Peter heard and changed his thinking and behavior. Soon after the teachable moment in Peter’s dreams, the Spirit gives Peter an opportunity to practice what he has just learned. No doubt he struggled with whom to believe—his “Christian” friends who spoke of “those Gentiles,” or God, who had told him not to consider anything or anyone unclean whom God had called clean (see v. 9). Then, when he and his friends arrive at the home of Cornelius, a captain in the Roman army, they learn that Cornelius had been told by an angel to send for Peter, who would bring a message that would bring salvation to Cornelius and his entire household.
As I write these devotional thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am astounded at the possibility of inviting perfect strangers into my home for a message that could save my family! The blessed assurance and comfort to us all is that in times of great trials God still and always sends the good news through messengers of love and grace. Perhaps the words from Acts 11:9 concerning clean or unclean people are what we most need to hear in this day of judgmental and divisive rhetoric.
O God, you have cared and mourned with us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank you for your faithfulness to us and for your steadfast participation in our lives. Your love keeps us strong. Amen.
Change can be difficult. It is easy to get comfortable with what is familiar. In Acts, some in Jerusalem criticize Peter for having fellowship with the Gentiles. Peter explains that his actions are not his own idea but are inspired by a vision from God. This change leads to the spread of the gospel. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. God cares for the earth that God created, but at the end of time everything will be changed and made better. In John, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment, namely that they should love one another as he has loved them. This is how others will know that they are truly Jesus’ disciples. Psalm 148 is not about change but is pure praise for the works of the Lord.
Read Acts 11:1-18. God calls Peter to initiate change. How do you respond to changes in your church’s culture? How do you discern what changes are from God?
Read Psalm 148. The next time you sing, focus on praising God and sharing God’s love through your words and melody.
Read Revelation 21:1-6. How do you live a full life while waiting for the new heaven and new earth?
Read John 13:31-35. In the wake of betrayal, Jesus calls his followers to sacrificial love. When have you needed to heed the call to this type of love?
Responda publicando una oración.