Takeaway Verse: Acts 10:15
But the voice spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’
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Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, “Come to me and I WILL give you rest.” This is us RSVPing: Yes!! to that invitation. So take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Today’s episode is called, “An Angel Meets an Italian”. It’s gonna be a good one. Okay, before we dive into Acts chapter 10, join me in a word of prayer. Father, there’s so much going on in the world and in our lives, would you just steady us? Would you just put your hand on our shoulders right now and give us peace. And open our minds, and our hearts, and our eyes, and ears to what you want us to understand from your word today? We come to you, Lord looking for words of life and knowing you supply them. It’s in Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Okay. I’m excited to share this story with you in part, because I’m Italian. So without further ado, let’s do this, Acts chapter 10, “In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. ‘Cornelius!’ The angel said.” Put your name in there for a second and imagine how you would feel if an angel was like, you know, Jennifer or John, you know, how would you feel? I mean, you would be stunned.
“Cornelius stared at him in terror. ‘What is it, sir?’ He asked the angel. And the angel replied, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering! Now send some men to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore.’ As soon as the angel was gone,” I love that. “As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants. He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.” he took the angel at his word, a total act of faith. “The next day, as Cornelius’s messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, and he was hungry.” Take note of that. “But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 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.” This is our takeaway verse. “‘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.”
In my experience, if something happens three times, like if I see the same Bible verse three times, I’m like, okay, God, you’ve got my attention. Hm. “Peter was very perplexed. What could the vision mean? Just then the men sent by Cornelius found Simon’s house. Standing outside the gate, they asked if a man named Simon Peter was staying there. Meanwhile, as Peter was puzzling over the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, ‘Three men have come looking for you. Get up, go downstairs and go with them without hesitation. Don’t worry for, I have sent them.’ So Peter went down and said, ‘I’m the man you’re looking for. Why have you come?’ They said, ‘We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer. He is a devout and God-fearing man, well respected by all the Jews. A holy angel instructed him to summon you to his house so he can hear your message.’ So Peter invited the men to stay for the night. The next day, he went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa.”
This is a powerful story because it shows God’s love for Cornelius and for Peter. God wanted Peter to be prepared. His news, his good news, the fact that Jesus came to die for our sins was not just for the Jews. It was for the Gentiles too. And he was prepping Peter’s heart. And I like that about God. I like that he cares enough to prep us. I remember a time, many years ago, I had this, I don’t know, like craving to hear Billy Joel songs. So I went and bought a CD of his greatest hits. And for days I listened to Billy Joel songs, and I thought, oh, I remember when I was growing up, and I first got my driver’s license, and I listened to Billy Joel on the streets of New York. And I was picturing myself for days on the streets of New York. And then I got a call that my grandfather had a stroke. And I was the only one in the family who could get to him. And so just days later after I bought that CD, I found myself driving down those same streets. I think in God’s goodness, and in his love for me, he was preparing me for what was about to happen. Isn’t that lovely. All right. We’re gonna dive into more of Acts chapter 10 next time. Till then remember, you are really loved.
Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at onpurposely.com.