Scripture: “The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, (Peter) fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.
In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”
And the voice came to him a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”
This happen three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean…” Acts 10:9-17a)
Observation: Changing habits and perspectives; how to respond when traditions, customs, and the attitude of “That’s how I have always done it and it works; why should I change” meets the Word of God. This is a crux point for every person challenged by Jesus.
Analysis: I see Peter stealing away for his noon prayers to the roof. It is lunch time. He is praying and his stomach starts to growl. “Folks? What’s for lunch? Let’s get something on the grill, what do you say?”
Perhaps Pete’s blood sugar gets low. He gets that “thousand-yard stare” going on and sees a vision.
Me? I get that thousand-yard stare and my wife says to me, “Where did you just go, hon?”
Peter is challenged by a vision about his preconceived, traditional, positions on (of all things) eating. The Lord says after showing birds, reptiles, and all sorts of animals, “Take and eat, I have declared it clean. What I say is clean, is clean. Stop arguing.”
This discussion happened three times in a row. I would think that Peter would have at least capitulated after the second. But THREE times the record says he was still perplexed, puzzled, mystified, confused.
Here is the punch line: For Jews, Gentiles were unclean. God calls them clean. Don’t call them unclean anymore. (Also, there is the stretch implication is bacon is good…maybe that is stretching the scriptures a bit I concede, don’t get into an uproar.)
The point that sticks out for me is, it took three times for God to speak, Peter argued, and at the end he still didn’t get it. Finally, Peter did, but really? Three times?
Hearing from the Lord is like that. My brain isn’t the instant sponge for the Word of God I imagine it to be. Sometimes I take the position of asking, and pondering, and trying to get it straight—because it seems so out of synch—when really, it isn’t the Word of God that is out of synch, it is my sinful mind.
God is patient; and that’s a good thing. He knows my frame. Nothing I come up with surprises Him. It didn’t with Peter, and it won’t with me.
Prayer: Father, this Acts 10 reference is a good reminder of what “renewing my mind” can look like. There are three things I want to make sure I take away from this: 1) Don’t be afraid to go “huh”; 2) Make sure I affirm all the time I want to “renew my mind”, and; 3) Please make it so in me, Lord God. Please make it so. AMEN.