Summary: God went to great lengths to bring together Cornelius and Peter. On this meeting hinged the salvation of all the world. With the “keys” of his Apostolic ministry, Peter opened the gates, not realizing that billions of people would enter.
WHEN PETER GOT HUNGRY
1. Things are going badly for Israel. The economy is in a tail spin, inflation is getting higher and immigrants are flooding in from all over. Problems, problems, problems, but what to do?
2. So the Knesset holds a special session to come up with a solution. After several hours of talk without progress one member stands up and says “Quiet everyone, I've got it, the solution to all our problems. We'll declare war on the United States.”
3. Everyone is shouting at once; "You're nuts! That's crazy!" "Hear me out!" says the minister. "We declare war. We lose. The United States does what she always does when she defeats a country. She rebuilds everything; our highways, airports, shipping ports, schools, hospitals, factories, and loans us money, and sends us food aid. Our problems would be over.
4. "Sure," says another politician, "that's if we lose. But what if we win?”
10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion…2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing…3 One day…he had a vision….an angel of God, [said]…4 “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 9 About noon the following day as [Cornelius’ servants] were …approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”16 This happened three times...17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius…stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 19 The Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” 23 The next day Peter started out with them…24 [and] he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him…27 Peter…found a large gathering of people. 34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent… 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39…They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
1. In the past we’ve had a couple of times where we had a “Wildlife Buffet,” where hunters brought in specimens of a wide range of things they’d killed while hunting, for us to eat.
2. Examples: deer, wild boar, snake, fish, duck or turkey, raccoon, armadillo, etc.
3. This is the kind of dinner we see put before Peter, a Jew, in this morning’s passage, but God had a special message for him & He does for us too!
4. The title of this message is, “When Peter Got Hungry.”
I. THE MAN CORNELIUS – UNUSUAL CHOICE?
A. THE PROBLEM OF PREJUDICE
1. It was an abomination to the Jewish believers in Acts 11, that not only were Gentiles taken into the church, but that the first Gentile who was taken in was an uncircumcised Roman soldier!
2. His job/profession had been war, fighting and killing people, including Jews. His rank of Centurion meant that he was good at killing & commanding. To a Jew he was an abomination to God.
3. We all have people we don’t like, people you don’t think are pleasing to God or worth fooling with. It’s called prejudice and it’s been around for along time. And it’s pretty well universal.