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Summary: Peter is called upon to make a judgment: Is this man, the Centurion for real, or not? To accurately make the decision that is before him, Peter must set aside the ways he has discerned before, and he must step out in faith.

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In our Scripture this morning, we see that Peter has a vision where a blanket full of different kinds of food and a voice announces, Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replies. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

Peter is very careful about what he eats, and with that in mind, today we are going to start with a short quiz this morning, a quiz about food safety. (I asked a member {before the service} to come up and take the quiz at each service, which was fun, no one got them all right, which the congregation loved).

Number One

How hot should the inside of a hamburger be before you take it off the grill?

100 degrees Fahrenheit

160 degrees Fahrenheit

210 degrees Fahrenheit

160 degrees Fahrenheit - According to the FDA.

Number Two

How much of a time window do you have between leaving the grocery store and refrigerating your food?

30 minutes

2 hours

3 hours

You have two hours to get everything into the fridge. But, if it’s more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit out there, you have only one hour. (Not a problem we will ever run into here in Anchorage)

Number Three

What’s the highest safe temperature for your refrigerator?

32 degrees Fahrenheit

36 degrees Fahrenheit

40 degrees Fahrenheit

Bacteria multiply most rapidly between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so your fridge should always be below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Number Four

What’s the safest place to defrost food?

in the microwave

on the counter

in the refrigerator

The FDA says you should always defrost in the refrigerator to keep those nasty bacteria at bay.

Number Five

Which of these foods can you use to heal a burn?

butter

bananas

honey

We now know that many old home remedies for burns, like butter, don’t really work all that well. But, studies have shown that you can use honey on minor burns.

And Finally

If there’s just a little mold on top of something you just dug out of the refrigerator, can you just scrape it off and eat the rest?

yes

no

sometimes

It depends on the texture of the food -- scraping is probably OK with hard cheeses and firmer fruits and vegetables. But, if the mold is on sauce or bread you never know how far the bacteria has spread. The FDA says, "When in doubt, throw it out!"

Anyone get every single one right?

In our day to day life we have to be concerned about food safety - who wants to get a case of food poisoning from poor food handling? But, our concern in eating safe food is not at all the same as Peter’s concern in eating the right food. We are concerned with bacteria and creepy crawlies; Peter is concerned with ceremonial clean food.

At this point you’re thinking, “Peter, are you really going to talk about food this morning?”

Well….Yes….and no, because this passage is about our freedom to eat all kinds of animals, but it really isn’t about food is it? I mean, it is about food, but it is not really about food, the food is about the food, but the food is also, not about the food - God is trying to teach Peter something more than the joys exotic cuisine.

If it is not just about food, what is going on here?

Now, one of the first thoughts that may come to mind as you look at this passage is that it is teaching us about racism, and you know, there is an element of racism here, there is an element where Peter is at some level racist toward the Centurion because the Centurion is not of the same ethnicity as Peter is, but, that is really a small element here.

It is also true that there is a cultural element here too. The Centurion and Peter are worlds apart, to Peter, the Centurion represented the oppression of Israel, restriction of freedom, and abhorrent pagan practices that would disgust any good Jew. From Peter’s viewpoint there wouldn’t be anything he had in common with the Centurion, in fact, it wouldn’t even occur to Peter that association with the Centurion was even an option. All that is true, but, this is more than overcoming another’s culture.

All these elements are here in this passage, but God is teaching something at a deeper level than all the things we have just mentioned. All the things that we have already mentioned (what food we can eat, racism, and culture clash) are all social behaviors, they are about how we interact on the human level.

We however, do not only operate on the human level do we? For if you and I only operate on the human level, than how are we living our life any different from our neighbors who are not Christians? Remember, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

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