The rules of the Jewish people were clear; stay away from unclean animals and people.
Do not touch the leper, or you’re tarnished. Stay far away from a woman on her period (this one makes more sense) Bahahaha Don’t eat pork. Shrimp is a no-no. Catfish are cant fish.
But I love what Bill Johnson said-
This is not an exact quote, but it went something like this “Before Jesus- when the unclean touched the clean, the clean became unclean. But when the clean (Jesus) touched the unclean, the unclean became clean.
This is why Jesus had to show Peter a vision of a religious off-limit picnic. Because Jesus came to change the mindsets as well as hearts. He came to sit with the sinner. Touch the sick. Chat with a Samaritan woman. Have dinner with a tax collector. Hang out with the outcast. Oh, the lengths our Lord went his three years of ministry to show us what it meant to serve from a place full of acceptance and unconditional love! Peter needed to know that Jesus did not see things the way the religious leaders saw them. The ones he was being called to were not his enemy; they were future brothers and sisters. Jesus wanted to merge believers with the concept that he can make anything clean. Anyone can be made new. Greek, Jew, Gentile, tax collector, leper, demon-possessed, prostitute, and murder!
“He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.” “No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean. ” But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.”
Acts of the Apostles 10:11-16 NLT
How could Peter ever be a world changer if he viewed others as less deserving of God’s Grace? If he considered the home of a believer off-limits because of his nationality? The Lord used reptiles and taboo sea life to make a critical point: if God says they are clean- they’re clean, and you do not need to fear! As soon as the vision was over, Cornelius’s men arrived at the house after a two-day journey. The timing of Peter's picnic vision was 48 hours after Cornelius sent for Peter. Showing that God appeared to Cornelius before he gave Peter the green light to go; not giving him much time to talk himself out of the instructions of the Lord. Brilliant! Yet Peter still grappled with going to an Italian man’s house who may or may not serve him sausage and smoked pork. BTW Prosciutto is amazing! After hearing how an angel appeared to Cornelius to fetch Peter, he finally understood the tablecloth of strange food falling from heaven in a vision.
“Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.” Acts of the Apostles 10:34-35 NLT
Peter was sifted once again. And Jesus was removing any prejudice and religious thinking out of his heart and head. Can we let this chapter filter us as well? Can we begin to see the redemption of others? Can we open our eyes to Jesus and has redeeming power to make all things new? Can we be fearless when we encounter the untouchable, the forbidden, or the exiled one of humanity? Can we get it through our heads that God does not have favorites but instead shows His favor? At our worst, He loved us. Worst has many different levels for many different people, but the love from Jesus is always the same-unconditional!