This passage shows us how God guided Peter and used him to accomplish His will in breaking down the artificial walls between Jews and Gentiles in His church. I think the passage also illustrates how we can be guided by God in our daily lives so that we can better live into the plan that God has for us.
The passage starts off with Peter contemplating, perhaps meditating or praying, about a vision that he had of unclean animals in which God said, “They’re not unclean”. My feeling is that Peter was probably struggling for some time with his own beliefs regarding Gentiles, instilled by his Jewish heritage, which were challenged by the message Jesus conveyed.
In the midst of his thoughts, he is presented an opportunity to step out in faith when he is prompted by the Spirit to respond to the three Gentiles who have come requesting that Peter speak at Cornelius’ house. Peter allowed himself to be guided by the Holy Spirit instead of sticking to what he had always believed. He takes the Gentiles into his house overnight and sets out with them the next day on the day long journey to Cornelius’s house. The reception Peter receives on arrival seems to further validate his step out in faith and he proclaims “God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.”
Do you feel that God is calling you to change in some way? Are you carrying out God’s agenda or acting your own? How can you be sure? I’d suggest to be guided by God we need to follow the example of Peter and enter into a dialogue with God through prayer, ask for His guidance and study the teaching of Jesus revealed in scripture. When we do this, God will in time present us with an opportunity to act on what he is trying to reveal. If you are faithful enough to follow then look for God to validate your step out in faith as he did with Peter. God guides people today just as he did Peter, all we have to do is ask for His help, study to His teachings, and watch for the opportunity to act.
Charlie Biegel humbly filling in for Rob Merola