‘You know that we Jews are not allowed to have anything to do with other people. But God has shown me that He doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit.’ Acts 10:28 CEV
From a Jewish point of view Cornelius, a Gentile, was a bad guy. He ate the wrong food, hung out with the wrong crowd, and swore allegiance to the wrong leader: Caesar. He didn’t quote the Torah or descend from Abraham. He was uncircumcised, unkosher, and unclean. Yet he did two things that got God’s attention. He prayed for spiritual enlightenment, and he was generous to the poor and needy. The Bible says he was ‘one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.’ (Acts 10:2 NKJV) Up until this point the Gospel had been preached only to the Jews. But God was about to change that.
And to do it He used Peter, one of the most religiously biased people you’d ever meet. In a vision, God showed Peter a sheet being let down from Heaven; it was filled with all kinds of food Jews are forbidden to eat. Peter protested, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’ (Acts 10:14 NKJV) And since Peter was slow to understand, the sheet was let down three times. Finally a voice from Heaven said, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ (Acts 10:15 NKJV) As a result, Peter went to Cornelius’ house and preached the Gospel. And before he could issue an invitation, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were present, confirming that this was God’s will. At that point Peter declared, ‘God has shown me that He doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit.’ Let God show you that too!