Unstoppable! 'What God Declares Clean' — Acts 11:5-9

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

[Peter explained to his Jewish critics why he went to Cornelius' house:] "I was in the town of Joppa," he said, "and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. And I heard a voice say, 'Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.'

"'No, Lord,' I replied. 'I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.'

"But the voice from heaven spoke again: 'Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.'"

— Acts 11:5-9 NLT

Key Thought

As Peter unwrapped the story of Cornelius' conversion, we realize why the involvement of visions, angels, and the Holy Spirit was so important. Following Christ required a radical transformation of life for any non-Jew, especially a Roman soldier. Cornelius now had to believe that Jesus, who was rejected by his own people and crucified by Romans soldiers, as was done for the worst sorts of men, is Lord, Messiah, and King. Also, the changes demanded of Jews to accept Gentiles — especially a Roman soldier and his family and friends — into fellowship was an equally monumental change in perspective, friendships, and eating habits. Only God could have bridged the canyon-wide distance between these groups. The people involved would have participated in this bridge-building only if God made sure that everyone knew that the events surrounding Cornelius were his will.

Today's Prayer

Forgive us, dear Father, for being so obstinate in our suspicions, prejudices, and fears of other people. We ask for the Holy Spirit to help us open our hearts and step out of our human reluctance and into Jesus' mission for us to reach others with your grace and bring them into our fellowship. We pledge to be more passionate at loving and reaching the people around us. In Jesus' name, we pray and make this pledge. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
  • Ephesians 2:12-22

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 11:5-9 NLT — [Peter explained to his Jewish critics why he went to Cornelius' house:] "I was in the town of Joppa," he said, "and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. And I heard a voice say, 'Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.'

"'No, Lord,' I replied. 'I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.'

"But the voice from heaven spoke again: 'Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.'"

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.