Lenten Devo #40—Common to Clean
"Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God has made clean, do not call common." (Acts 10:13-15)
God's plan was always to build one people, to tear down the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles. Jews viewed Gentiles (non-Jews) as unclean, and like the unclean foods that were forbidden them, the Jews were supposed to stay away from Gentiles. They were common or unclean—that is, they did not bear the sacred qualities of God's people.
Jesus tears all of that down in this vision Peter has. The food is a metaphor, we will find out, for the two peoples. Peter, perplexed by the vision, only puts the pieces together when he sees the Spirit fall upon a Gentile the same way that the Spirit fell upon the Jews on the day of Pentecost. It was then that he realized that salvation may have been from the Jews, but it wasn't just for the Jews. God wants all peoples to be saved.
So let us then pray without discrimination for all peoples to come to know Jesus. There are some people that we prefer and others we disdain, but this is of the world and against the plan of God. And while it may feel alien for you to pray for someone you don't like or someone who has been your enemy, so it was for Peter when he learned to share the message of the gospel with everyone, no matter what.
"For once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:10)
Who are you praying for today?