A Favorite Story

by Penrod

“The real game is the game you are in”

In the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry. While waiting for food, “...he fell into a trance. He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.’ The voice said to him again, a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven” (10-16).

This vision was sent to Peter to prepare him to cross a boundary. Even Peter the Rock did not yet realize the extent to which Jesus had initiated a new age and the implications of it. Peter’s vision was not the first revelation of this truth. For instance, remember how Jesus told the woman at the well in Samaria that the time had come when those who worship God must worship him in Spirit and in Truth. He said it did not matter whether a person worshipped in Jerusalem or in Samaria. Remember, also, that Jesus and the disciples stayed for two days as guests of the Samaritans. That was an eye-opening experience for him and the disciples. The Samaritans were okay folks. Even after that, and even after Pentecost, this great understanding had not fully penetrated the minds, hearts, and souls of Jesus’ followers—not even the heart and soul of Peter.

Treat yourself to the whole story. It’s worth it. Messengers from the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, arrive. Peter hospitably provides food and lodging. Guided by the spirit and the vision, he goes with them to Caesarea. To his chagrin, Cornelius bows down to worship him. Peter says: “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” To those assembled, he says: “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean” (28).

Cornelius asks Peter to speak. “Then Peter began saying: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him’” (34-35).

Isn’t this the Good News that we share, brothers and sisters? Isn’t this the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? God shows no partiality and Jesus is our friend.

Penrod says that, in thinking about him, one should think first of Booth Tarkington's Penrod, the boy writer, and then of the mighty pen of Martin Luther with its power like unto the rod of Aaron.

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