- Cornelius is a devout man.
- He receives a vision.
- He obeys the vision.
- He sends for Peter.
- The Holy Spirit had not yet fully fallen on Cornelius and his family.
The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
In a good way and in a bad way, Peter is stubborn!
- In this situation, he was so determined to stick to his previous teaching and understanding that God gave Him a vision to bring him into a new understanding.
God says, “Rise Peter; kill and eat.” Notice Peter’s response: “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”
- That’s strong and stubborn; frequently those two qualities are two sides of the same coin.
- We can submit to the Lord and still be strong.
- We can be stubborn and stuck in our thinking and ultimately be weak in our strength.
However, it’s very important to see that God’s goal was to always turn Peter’s stubbornness into a strength.
- God always redeems our weaknesses.
- God doesn’t see us by our fallen nature; He sees us by our redeemed nature.
- God sees what He designed us to be and always speaks that truth into reality.
“And the voice came to him again a second time.”
- Don’t make God repeat himself.
What does God clarify for Peter? “What God has made clean, do not call common.”
- God is about to teach Peter that this is true of food, but it is a much bigger and broader issue than food.
“This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.”
Why did this happen three times?
- My guess is that three times was necessary because of Peter’s stubbornness.
Three is a significant number for Peter.
- Three denials.
- Three affirmations.
- Three visions.
What God has made clean, cannot be unclean. It is no longer common.
God makes the unholy, holy.
- God sets us apart.
- God makes us unique.
- God makes us radically different.
Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.
Notice God’s timing:
- Peter is inwardly perplexed.
- Peter is trying to discern the meaning.
- God has the timing of the vision and arrival of the men sync up.
And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”
Notice the precision of the timing.
Notice the clarity of the message.
- I love that the Spirit says, “without hesitation.”
How many times do we miss being involved in God’s work because of hesitation?
- Timing is important.
- Discernment is important.
- But when God wants something done immediately, I believe He makes it overtly clear and obvious.
This reminds me of the principle that timing is more important than time. If you don’t obey in the moment, then you might actually miss the moment.
Also, notice the authority.
- “I have sent them.”
And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.”
By what authority did the men give to Peter?
- Cornelius was directed by a holy angel to send for Peter.
- They weren’t concerned whether that sounded weird or not.
By the way, what expressions of the supernatural aren’t going to be weird to the natural? We must make room for the supernatural in our lives.
What does it look like for God to speak to you today?
- I have countless examples of where I believe I received a vision.
- I have countless examples of how God has spoken undeniable promises to us through this wilderness season.
Where’s the authority and anointing if the vision or word isn’t from God?
Where is the provision if the vision isn’t from God?
Why are each of us in relationship with one another?
- God has connected the dots for a reason.
- There is divine purpose in our friendship.
- There will be many expressions, but I believe a primary expression is that we will be used of God to give the fullness of the Holy Spirit to the “Corneliuses” of our day.