Monday in the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 10:9-23

Nothing Is Common or Unclean

Cornelius sent two servants and a devout soldier off to Joppa to fetch Peter as the Lord had commanded him to do in his vision.  Meanwhile, the Lord was speaking to Peter in a vision as well.  Peter had gone up to the housetop to pray.  While praying he became hungry and wanted something to eat.  This was precisely the circumstance which the Lord brought to pass, for while Peter waited on his meal which was being prepared by the cooks inside the house, he fell into a trance.  In this state, the Lord spoke to him in a vision in which Peter saw what appeared to be a great sheet being let down by each of its corners from heaven filled with all manner of animals, reptiles, and birds, which were apparently, according to Jewish dietary laws, unclean (Leviticus 11:2-47).  Peter hears the command to “kill and eat,” to which he replies, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common of unclean.”  He then receives the word, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”  This happens three times, a number generally indicating fullness or completion in the Bible.  The rest of the passage tells of the men sent by Cornelius arriving at the gate and asking for Peter.  While they were at the gate, the Holy Spirit told Peter to go down and accompany the men without hesitation as the Lord had sent them.  They spent the night there in Joppa and the next day left for Caesarea.

The vision which Peter saw certainly pertains to the annulment of the old Jewish dietary laws which were foreshadowed in the ministry of Jesus (Mark 7:1-9), but as we shall see tomorrow, the vision also spoke more importantly to the breaking down of the wall between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14).  God did indeed give such ceremonial laws to his ancient people the Israelites (later called Jews) so as to set them apart from the peoples which surrounded them, for they were to be a peculiar people.  And so they were.  In this manner, “the law was our guardian—until Christ came” (Galatians 3:24).  The Law of God, even the moral law, was given in effect to set us up for failure, for the law “was added because of transgression” (Galatians 3:19), to show us how exceedingly wicked sin is (Romans 7:13).  But now that justification through faith in Christ has been revealed to us, those ceremonial aspects of the law (circumcision, dietary, sacrifices) are no longer needed.  The moral law remains, of course, since it reveals the very heart of God (for God is true, faithful, and just), but not as a means of salvation but as proof thereof.  Peter would soon learn that being a peculiar people had nothing to do with ethnicity but everything to do with being saved by faith and walking in holiness with God, and that is truly peculiar (1 Peter 2:9 KJV).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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