Acts 10:9–23 (NKJV)
9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”Acts 10:9-16
14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
As Cornelius’ envoys were on there way to call Peter to Caesarea, Peter fell into a trance and saw a vision of a sheet being let down from heaven with all types of animals available on it. The voice of God instructed Peter to kill and eat of these animals, but Peter resisted, because some of the animals were considered unclean by Jewish law. God then told Peter that even those things that man may consider unclean are clean if God has cleansed them. God repeated this vision two more times to drive the point home to Peter.
17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.Acts 10:17-23
19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
21 Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?”
22 And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” 23 Then he invited them in and lodged them.
On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
Peter pondered the vision and its meaning as Cornelius’ envoys arrived at Simon’s house. The Spirit alerted Peter to their presence and instructed him further to go with them to Caesarea. When they explained their mission, Peter invited the men in to rest for the night, and they went toward Caesarea the next day. The reader will understand the meaning of the vision as the passage proceeds into the account of Peter’s visit to Cornelius. God was preparing Peter for a revival and a Holy Spirit outpouring in a Gentile’s household.
Peter would, at times, struggle with the idea of Gentiles being part of the church, weven being scolded by Paul later for shunning the Gentiles in Antioch when his Jewish brethren were present. However, in this vision, God made it plain that Gentiles had equal access to the blessings of God. Peter went as God instructed him, and the rest of the story will show the power of God in Cornelius’ house. As for the reader today, what groups, styles, or settings do you deem unworthy of the gospel? This vision breaks down barriers and shows the reader that God is no respecter of persons. Instead, the gospel is available to all who will believe. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is available to anyone who seeks with a forgiven heart. Let the love of God flow to everyone around you, and seek to bless even those who make you uncomfortable. They may need the gospel and the Spirit more than anyone else you meet today! Have a vision–like Peter–that includes everyone.