As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.
While preparing to leave for a month-long mission trip for Japan, Philippines, and India in March, I got to thinking about the profound meaning of mission. I was able to visually capture the Word given to Peter as I read Acts 10. After showing Peter all the earthly living creatures, the Lord tells him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." I would like to point out three things from this amazing story of Peter's calling.
First, the Bible says that Peter stayed at Simon’s home. Simon was a tanner—an occupation that put him in direct contact with dead animals, including ceremonially unclean animals. This was against Jewish rituals and traditions. But Peter stayed with this man at least three different times.
Peter’s encounter with the Lord was a pivotal moment where the Christian faith began to spread to the Gentiles. With one simple encounter, the gospel flourished because Peter and his big head got out of the way, and he finally obeyed the Lord. It is also through our encounters that the Lord touches us to reach out to the world. You will be amazed when you come face to face with the Lord!
Second, Peter responded with a sincere act of surrender. The book of Acts is not just about the acts of the Holy Spirit; it is also about the acts of the apostles. The kingdom of God was advanced through the lives of ordinary people, including fishermen, tax collectors, and prostitutes as they surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s leading on a daily basis.
There is a greater glory awaiting the Church. God is raising up people who wholly discern and see and know the truth by surrendering to his Words according to Peter’s example. To share the gospel, we must be willing to surrender our traditions, understandings, and our rights. If we are rooted in Christ with a spirit of surrender, we will surely overcome any obstacles in ministry and press forward to achieve God’s kingdom.
Third, we truly can realize that all people are clean now. There is a paradigm shift happening across the body of Christ, cleansing us from our Greek mindsets. If we denounce miracles because of our own understanding, we have obliterated the gospel to our own worldly values. We should not base the truth on our experiences but rather base our experiences on the truth. Just as Peter stayed in the home of a man whose occupation was a curse and defilement to his traditions, the Lord wants us to break out of the “usual” for the sake of reaching out to some.
The Lord wants us to break out of our boxes and molds so that we can break others free into his glory. There are many things that may hinder us from further believing in the Lord. Do not miss out on what God has for you because it looks odd, unusual, or even suspicious. We do not want to miss out on the gospel because it does not fit in our paradigm. As the Lord spoke to Peter, “Do not call unclean what God has made clean.”