Today we will look at Acts 10:9-23
10:9 About noon the next day, while they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing the meal, a trance came over him. 11He saw heaven opened and an object something like a large sheet descending, being let down to earth by its four corners. 12In it were all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and wild birds. 13Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!” 14But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything defiled and ritually unclean!” 15The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean!” 16This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into heaven.
17Now while Peter was puzzling over what the vision he had seen could signify, the men sent by Cornelius had learned where Simon’s house was and approached the gate. 18They called out to ask if Simon, known as Peter, was staying there as a guest. 19While Peter was still thinking seriously about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Look! Three men are looking for you. 20But get up, go down, and accompany them without hesitation, because I have sent them.” 21So Peter went down to the men and said, “Here I am, the person you’re looking for. Why have you come?” 22They said, “Cornelius the centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man, well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and to hear a message from you.” 23So Peter invited them in and entertained them as guests.
On the next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. (NET Bible)
When Adam and Eve turned away from God in the garden, God had a plan for saving us all. During the time of the Old Testament, some of God’s chosen people had forgotten that God’s plan for saving the world was always intended to be for all people. God loves everyone and longs for them to come into his salvation through Jesus. Today’s story from acts is about the church, the chosen apostles, opening up their understanding of the scope of the gospel to include all people who would turn to him.
Any time we develop a group or society they can become exclusive. Sometimes there are good reasons for doing so, but once someone has become part of an exclusive group, there is a danger in thinking of those outside the group as unworthy or somehow less than those who are included in it. The dangers I see in the text today are not like the ones that are so explosive in our world today with the Black Lives Matter movement and their various tag along groups (the message of racism needs to be proclaimed and change needs to happen), what I see are the dangers of thinking our faith is just for us, or those like us. That the message of the gospel is intended for only a certain group of people.
God’s love is too big to limit its proclamation to just a few types of people. God’s good news is for everyone. It was a message that the apostles needed to hear and learn and it is a message that we need to remind ourselves of as well. We are all equal before God, equally guilty and equally loved. May God give us eyes to see as he does and hearts to love as he does, without prejudice. May we be moved to call all people to follow Christ and lovingly teach them to obey his commands. Remember that we were once on the outside, but by his grace we are now safe in his arms.