PETER WADES IN
"Talking things over, they went into the house where Cornelius introduced Peter to everyone who had come. Peter addressed them. 'You know -- I'm sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don't do this -- visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than another race. So the minute I was sent for, I came, no questions asked. I'd like to know why you sent for me.'" Acts 10:27-29 (The Message).
All is about to be revealed! God's "conspiracy" is about to be blown open!
It seems that unusual events accompanied the launch of the gospel into each new race group. Pentecost with its high drama set the whole thing going -- wind, fire, unlearned languages and supernatural joy exploded in the city of Jerusalem, sweeping three thousand new believers into the kingdom of God.
Dramatic healings, followed by persecution and even the sudden and mysterious deaths of Ananias and Sapphira led to the explosive growth of the church, not the sort of events that would naturally attract new members. However, the church stayed within the confines of the Jewish race until two supernatural events happened that led the church to spill out of its confining racial prejudices into Africa and into the Gentile world.
Angelic intervention sent Philip to intercept a high-ranking Ethiopian official on his way home from worshipping in Jerusalem, resulting in a new convert taking the message of Jesus back to the royal court in Ethiopia. Now another supernatural intervention of God sends Peter into the home of a Roman soldier in response to his search to know the true God.
Peter, to his credit, responded promptly to the vision and to the subsequent whispering of the Holy Spirit to reassure him that he was not having a nightmare after a heavy meal! His initial reluctance to "kill and eat" was overridden by God's insistence that he drop his inhibitions and launch into the next phase of his missionary calling with the full confidence of God's command,
For the first time ever in his life, Peter entered a Gentile home without feeling the abhorrence and false guilt of his upbringing. He must have felt much lighter in his spirit, knowing that it was God who had set him free from this ensnaring lie that had bound his conscience since childhood. Another chain had fallen off on his personal journey to freedom.
Everyone is on a journey to somewhere depending on the destination to which our choices take us. There are only two possible destinies -- the realm of perfect freedom that follows obedience to the voice of God or the ultimate terrible eternal imprisonment to the foolish choices we keep making in this life.
God's passionate desire is for His children to be free -- not from the restrictions and requirements people put on us, good or bad, but from the inner slave-drivers we acquire on our journey through our choices and responses.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (NIV). There is only one source of true freedom. "To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,'" John 8:31-32 (NIV).
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