Consider No One Impure (Acts 10:1-11:18)
Jan 03, 2011 by Craig Blomberg | 0 Comments
“The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean’“ (10:15 updated NIV)
A faithful member of the missions committee at a church we used to attend once absolutely refused to consider supporting an organization that was trying to get humanitarian aid and the good news of Jesus to the people of North Korea. “They are our enemies,” he shouted defiantly. “It is unbiblical to do anything that might support them.”
Peter may well have felt the same way about the Romans. Worse still, they were the occupying forces who had conquered Israel. Even if he was beginning to recognize that some or even most Gentiles should hear the gospel, surely God would not send him to speak to the commander of 100 Roman troops! But that is precisely what this story narrates. Luke tells it in great detail, and then narrates Peter recounting it again when he returns to Jerusalem, thereby demonstrating its importance in the life of the early church.
Even had Rome not been the imperial force that it was, Gentiles were regularly ritually unclean because they did not follow Jewish dietary laws. So if God was declaring all foods clean, it meant that he was declaring all people clean (cf. 10:34-35). Every geopolitical or ethnic group had to hear about Christ; no one who believed was in any way a second-class Christian based on their nationality, ethnicity, or race. Is there anyone who is a Cornelius in your life? If so, what will you do to change the way you think about them or behave toward them?