". . . while Peter was greatly perplexed . . ." Acts 10:17
God often offends the mind to stir the heart. For growth to take place in us two things must collide together. There must first be disruption before resolution.
Peter had been in deep contemplation over the relationship of Christianity to the rest of the world. Peter was raised with the formidable barriers of Judaism. It was difficult for him to think beyond the hard lines his religion had drawn around him.
And yet, the longer he lived in the presence of Jesus, the more the Spirit of Jesus moved within him, the more suspicious he became of the obstacles that spared him from the rest of the world. As time went on, he grew more and more dissatisfied with the lines that separated the sacred from the secular between the clean and unclean things.
The deeper Peter plunged into the truth of Jesus, the more unwilling he was to confine himself to the artificial boundaries of Judaism.
Cornelius believed in God. He was a good and generous man, a man of integrity, a man who said his prayers. But he was a Gentile and was not allowed into the sanctuary of the synagogue, therefore, he remained on the fringes of faith. Cornelius was like many today who have a belief in God, but have no connection to the local church. In fact, many feel isolated from the community of faith.
As Peter nurtured his dissatisfaction with the institution of Judaism, coupled with his belief in God’s unlimited grace, suddenly his vision is broadened out to the rest of the world.
As disciples of the ways of Jesus, we will be brought to a place where we find that our prejudice, and false limitations we've created, cannot contain the fullness of all God is and desires to be. Whenever our belief in God excludes those who are not like us, we are due for a disruption. Whenever we are satisfied to only love people who are like us, it's time for a shift in the heart.
Are you loving others who aren't like you?