Summary: From time to time it’s good to ask the Lord to earch our heart to see if there is any sin of prejudice there.
The Apostle Peter Confronts Prejudice
A Christian is one who is walking in all the light of God. Acts 10 we have the story of two Leaders, one a Roman leader and one a Jewish leader. One was looking at life through the lens of a God fearing Gentile and one through the lens of a Christ-honoring Jew. Both leaders were open to walking in the light of the Lord.
Changing your belief system and view of the world as you have been taught is a dramatic challenge for most. For some it is an impossible barrier to cross. Many would rather fight than switch their belief system.
From time to times it’s good to ask our Lord Jesus to search your heart to see if there is any sin of prejudice there. If it is, then we need to be willing to have him who is our life dissolve the prejudice---he is the only one who can do it---so that we can continue to enjoy the "unity of the Spirit" at this Christian fellowship and with other Christians around this community and the world.
# I remember studying the Gospel of John in a large class at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, KY. We were studying the 4th chapter of the Gospel of John. Dr. George Allen Turner commented on the barriers that Jesus broke in going through Samaria and talking to the Samaritan Woman. He noted that Jesus broke gender barriers, cultural barriers, traditions and race barriers. Jesus, a teacher and Rabbi spoke with a woman of the world and a Samaritan at that. Dr. Turner said that God’s word was plain, Race prejudice is wrong and evil.
One of the students from deep Alabama stood to his feet with his face turning beet red. He said he could not accept that interpretation. He would not call a black man his brother. Because of the racial stand of the seminary he dropped out of school rather than change his beliefs.
The Apostle Peter was a product of his Jewish upbringing. He believed that the Gospel was primarily for the Jews and not the Gentile world.
Acts 10 tells the story of how Peter’s beliefs systems were turned on their head. His experiences radically changed his teaching about the grace of God.
I. The Lord Prepared the Way for Peter to Confront Ungodly Prejudice
Acts 10 is about two visions, one by the Apostle Simon Peter in Joppa and the other by Cornelius a Roman Centurion in Caesarea.
(Acts 10:1-8) Cornelius was a leader of 100 soldiers in an Italian Regiment of 600 men. He was located in Caesarea the main seaport of Palestine and the capitol of the Roman Government in that Area. Cornelius feared God with along with all his family. He was a devout seeker after the Lord.
At three in the afternoon, the Jewish hour of prayer, Cornelius was praying and an angel of the Lord spoke to him plainly: “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
(Acts 10:9-23) Simon Peter is staying in the home of Simon the Tanner. The house is located outside the city of Joppa by the Sea thirty miles from Caesarea a day and a half journey by foot. Simon the Tanner’s house was by the sea because his Tanning business used sea water and he was outside the city because he handed dead animals that rendered him unclean.
The next day after the Angel has appeared to Cornelius his devout soldier and two of his servants were on their way to Joppa to find Peter. As they were approaching the town Peter went out on the balcony to pray. It was about noon. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowed by ropes by its four corners settled on the ground. Every king of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. Then a voice came: “Go to it, Peter – kill and eat.”
Peter said, “Oh, no, Lord. I’ve never so much as tasted food hat was not kosher.” The voice came a second time: “If God says its okay, its okay.” This happened three times, and then the blanket was pulled back up into the skies.” (It happened three times to make it clear to Peter this was a vision and not a mere dream)
As Peter, puzzled, sat there trying to figure out what it all meant, the men sent by Cornelius showed up at Simon’s front door. They called in, (the custom then was to call out from the front of the house and not knock on the door) asking if there was a Simon, also called Peter, staying there. Peter, lost in thought didn’t hear them, so the Spirit whispered to him, “Three men are at the door looking for you. Get down there and go with them. Don’t ask any questions. I sent them to get you.”