10:17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.
19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
21 Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?”
22 And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” 23 Then he invited them in and lodged them.
On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
So Peter goes to Caesarea against everything he has ever been taught. He goes with an entourage of Jews from Joppa. Cornelius has assembled a gathering of family and friends and now the two groups meet face to face in the home of Cornelius. What an unlikely sight. Comparable perhaps in our day to a group of American Christians going to a Muslim compound in Saudi Arabia? The scene breaks down borders and walls of religion, culture, nationality, rank etc...
Cornelius' first move is an awkward one. It underscores the holes in his faith. He bows to worship Peter. Peter immediately must correct him. There is only One worthy of worship. Angels will not even permit this. It was awkward just to come. It is worse now but both men are being lead by God to this moment. They enter the house and Peter begins to speak. His first words do nothing to ease the tension. "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation..."
I'm sure you could hear a pin drop but he isn't finished...
"But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean."
This is a monumental moment. Peter has understood the vision of the unclean animals with the instruction to kill and eat. It had nothing to do with food and everything to do with redefining boundaries. Before that vision some people were clean and some were unclean. Now those boundaries are gone. All people are clean. None have less value. This is radical! For the first time we see the followers of Jesus taking a huge step in becoming more like Him. His mind is becoming implanted into their minds.
This is a critical point to understand. Peter is not now more of a follower of Jesus, he is just a better representation of Jesus because he is following Him. This is why judging each other is so wrong and harmful and often wildly inaccurate. There are people who are sincere followers of Jesus who may grossly misrepresent Him. The reason is simple. They have lessons He has yet to teach them.
Every morning I feel Him trying to stretch me. Some days I understand. Other days I just get a sense that there is something I'm not seeing yet and I file the thought away knowing He's going to bring it back again. Following Him is growth and change and sometimes involve seismic shifts in our whole view of the world. Just remember that people who don't yet see what you see are not necessarily any less His followers. They need time and space to grow too.
"All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another as I have loved you."