It had nothing to do with food; it all had to do with prejudice.
Peter’s story in Acts chapter 10 is not about how hungry he was, or what kosher food he chose to eat. It was all about God letting Peter know that the Gentiles were just as acceptable to God as were his own people, the Jews. Peter followed Christ, but also maintained his Jewish standards and traditions. He seemed to believe at this time that the Gospel was meant for the Jews first.
God, however, had other plans, so Peter would have to change his ideas about who was acceptable to God. Peter was a living witness to the teachings, life, and resurrection of Christ. His personal testimony was crucially important, so God was not going to keep it limited to Jewish hearers only. Peter was about to undergo a whole new ministry experience and broaden his theological horizons. The old ways were comforting, but they needed to be challenged. His traditional ways were cozy, but they needed to be changed.
Two thousand years later, change is still not easy for the Church, and challenges to our traditional beliefs, standards, and teachings cannot be avoided. We may not like to think about the church changing and perhaps want to remain in our own theological comfort zone, but we really need to ask ourselves these important questions: Are we against change just because it is inconvenient and uncomfortable? Are we propping up our traditions for God, or merely pandering to our prejudices?
Perhaps we need to revisit our opinions and ask God to show us what or who is acceptable to Him.
Questions for personal reflection
What are the crucial beliefs about my form of Christianity? Is this my Christianity or Christ’s vision for His Church?
Prayers: Lord Jesus, we need to be constantly challenged in order to keep a living faith. We need a revitalized vision of what it means to You for us to actually be Christians. Keep us from cozy spirits and a familiar faith. Protect us from our prejudices and liberate us through Your sacred love. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Pentecost drawings. It’s called “Free Spirit.” If you would like to view a larger version of the image, please click here: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8265/8664735974_02c3db424b_h.jpg