Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Without a doubt, the story of Peter encountering the Centurion Cornelius, is one of the most powerful statements of what God seems to be up to yet today. To me, this is the best illustration of a divine appointment that God set up for Peter.
There were two men from totally different ends of the spectrum brought together supernaturally by God. Peter, a devout Jew, and Cornelius, a Roman Centurion. Cornelius was a non-Jew or today, you might call him a non-Christian. He was a compassionate man toward people and a man of prayer to God. Note that Cornelius is the one who was given a vision to set up a meeting with Peter. God contacted Cornelius, because of his prayers and charitable giving.
Peter, not knowing anything about this upcoming meeting, fell into a trance and was given a vision three times. A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” (Acts 10)
Immediately Peter was surprised by the servants of Cornelius, who had come to where Peter was staying in Joppa to escort him to the home of Cornelius. They made the journey together to the house of Cornelius and when Peter heard Cornelius’ story and saw the people gathered to hear him, he said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” (Acts 10) Peter fought this all along the way, but then he “got it”. This is exactly the word used here for understand. “Oh, now I get it!” Peter thought that if any non-Jew was going to have a chance to know God, then he must first become Jewish. Does this sound a little familiar with what you have heard within your faith communities? We all think we have the way and believe others must come through our truth in order to be acceptable to God.
The hard and true fact is that Jesus is the way. Jesus explains this, when he says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (John 10) Jesus is the shepherd of all the sheep of the world who will respond to his voice. These are not from the Jewish (Christian) sheepfold, but other sheep from other cultures who know Jesus. The Jesus movement is for anyone who will hear his voice.