But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ (Acts 11:8-9)
Peter was a devout Jew and obeyed the dietary laws found in the Torah. He has just received a vision from God telling him to eat some of the animals that were previously forbidden, and he reacts according to those laws, saying he has never violated them. Perhaps he thought God was testing him to see if he would be faithful.
In fact, just the opposite was true. Peter was being led to a new truth, that God wanted him to be able to see past the human-manipulated intricacies of the law to broaden his knowledge and accept that those outside Jewish practice were also children of God.
God gave the people of Israel laws as part of their desert experience to protect them and mold them into the nation of priests He called them to be (Exodus 19:6). Now God called them to go into the world, to see that they had more in common with their Gentile neighbors than they thought, and to share His love with them. Their relationship with Him was to be strengthened through their obedience and ministry. May we be obedient today, as God calls us to go to people who live differently than we do, stepping out of our comfortable routine and into the mission field where He sends us.
Patient God, help us to see past the rules we impose on ourselves that often keep us from being the disciples You call us to be. Make us strong in Your love, ready to go where we are needed to spread the Good News of Your salvation. Amen.