Peter's Rooftop Vision
by Bobby Bruno 3/23/2014 / Christian Apologetics
Peter, who had been given the keys to the Kingdom of God by Jesus Christ was praying on a roof one day. The Holy Spirit visited him and through a vision of a sheet with pictures of impure and unclean animals told him to kill and eat these animals. Peter exclaimed that he has never eaten animals forbidden by the Law of Moses. But the Spirit rebuked him and told him that the things God has made clean are not impure. After the Spirit had given Peter the vision two more times for emphasis, acquaintances from Cornelius, an important Gentile, Roman soldier, a God-fearer, and a man of prayer and generosity, came and inquired of Peter, just as the Spirit had said they would. The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with them because Cornelius was interested in hearing what Peter had to say about Jesus Christ. The next day, Peter went with them to Cornelius' house where Peter found a man ready to hear the Gospel enough to respond to the message of salvation through Christ that Cornelius' whole household believed and was baptized. Through the vision, God was telling Peter that He had cleared the path for Gentiles to respond to the Gospel message through the Holy Spirit, by showing him on the sheet unclean animals that represented the Gentiles who had been forbidden salvation before Jesus' death. Cornelius was the first of many Gentile converts to Christianity.
If Luke had not given us this account, we never would have known how Gentiles became believers. If the story in Acts just suddenly included Gentiles, it would have confused future readers because it would seem as if the Jewish believers suddenly changed their minds about how they felt about the Gentiles after thousands of years of bad blood between the two. We would assume that the Jews themselves decided that Gentiles should know Christ and believe. But by including this account in detail, we see that God had already decided that the Gentiles were always going to be a part of the church and that He had to convince His chosen people that He considers Gentiles just as important to Him as the Jews were. This account also shows us that when we keep ourselves open to the Holy Spirit's leading we may reach people we never thought were possible to reach, like our families, let's say. God even loved evil people. He may not like what they do, but His heart is always turned their way, as in the conversion of the Apostle Paul.
It also shows us that they way to hear the Spirit is by praying. Just about every time we read in the Bible that someone heard from the Spirit, it was usually when they were praying. Peter prayed and began to convert Gentiles. While Philip was praying, the Spirit sent him to the Ethiopian who was reading the Scriptures while travelling in his chariot. And while the Apostle John was praying he was taken up into Heaven to receive the Revelation. Praying must be like breathing to us. If we want to be led by the Spirit, we must keep on praying for His leading. Only in this way will true revival begin to conquer the hearts of those whom God is currently speaking to about their future, those who hear but are ignoring that voice that is telling them to come. Prayer is our lifeline to God and we must keep the lines of communication completely open for the war being fought, for the souls of the lost are at stake. The Bible shows us time and time again that praying to God will get His full attention in a way that nothing else we do can. This war can only be won by prayer-warriors who refuse to let this battle for lost souls be lost. Our children are depending on us to fight for them, instead our children are fighting for themselves by killing their fellow students, teachers, and the bullies they don't like. We Christians are responsible for the spreading of the love of Jesus Christ to the world. Pray to the Spirit today to see what you can do to make this world a safer place. No apologies or excuses, just deep-hearted prayer for all the souls of this evil world. We can make a difference!!!
Question: "Another aspect to take note of would be what the Lord said, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." The Lord was saying this to Peter to get his point across that nothing God has made is impure, not even men."
Author Response: How many of us were like Peter, and may still be now? Are there certain people we will not talk to Christ about simply because we don't like their attitudes, skin color, or their current religion choice? Do we consider certain people unclean and not worthy of salvation just because they may be more evil that we'd like them to be? Do we need God to send a sheet down in front of our prejudice to get us to see that all people, evil or not, are important to Him simply because He created them? All of us have grown up with these prejudices mainly thanks to our own family's beliefs as we were growing up. Have we finally shed those beliefs about certain people? Do we believe what society says about the world's culture groups, or have we finally learned the truth that every human on this planet, since Eden, are creations of God and deserve His love and mercy? Obviously, Peter never questioned his prejudices even though he was Jewish and should have known God better than he did, and that God loves everyone He created and not just the Jewish nation. I agree with others in this discussion about Peter always having to be told spiritual things three times before he finally got the message. My question to myself and everyone else in this school is how many times does God have to tell us before we do what He has called us to do? God has shown us through Peter that He is patient with us, but how long will His patience hold out before He turns to someone else He knows will answer the call. Thankfully for us Gentiles that Peter answered after three times of being told to go, but I believe that if we are called to go and we don't, then it is we who have missed out on being a part of this great adventure called Christianity and that is finding the lost and bringing then Home.
Question: "What I find most intriguing of all and would have never caught this on my own, is Peter staying with the tanner to begin with. Why would Luke write that if there is not something to it?"
Author Response: I've often wondered why God used a sheet to show Peter the clean and unclean animals. Why a sheet? Better yet, why not an animal skin to reiterate the fact that God was speaking about animals here? Would Peter have thought that Simon the tanner was playing tricks on him in jest? That would have made the correlation between the tanner and why Peter was at his house that day a little easier to understand. Was the sheet used because Peter was by the sea and could hear the sound of the waves crashing against the shore in his ears? Also, most men I know fall asleep AFTER they've had a meal, not before. But I guess God wanted Peter hungry so that he would focus on the animals just a little bit harder. I wonder if Peter smacked his lips together the first time the sheet came down and before God spoke to him. I'm like you Shari I wished that scripture supplied us with a little more detail so we wouldn't have to wonder about these things.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.