Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.
Cornelius sent some of his men to invite Peter to his home. But Peter is a Jew, and Cornelius is a Gentile. Will Peter accept the invitation?
This may be a problem for Peter. Samaritan people – Jews who had intermarried with Gentiles - had only recently been included in the Christian fellowship. But so far, the Good News was not shared with Gentiles.
And there was a reason for this. In the Jewish tradition, it was not customary to associate closely with Gentiles. As followers of Jesus, the Jewish Christians mistakenly continued to keep this restriction.
In addition to keeping separate from Gentiles, they also observed certain dietary restrictions. Some foods were not permitted under the Law of Moses. For example, certain animals could be eaten (clean) and certain animals were forbidden (unclean).
How will Peter respond to a request to break with these longstanding traditions and visit Cornelius’ home to share the Good News with him?
To change Peter’s thinking about Gentiles, God gives him a vision about dietary customs. It must have been very disturbing to Peter. The voice from heaven instructed him to eat unclean animals!
By removing the dietary restrictions, God is sending Peter the greater message that Gentiles are not to be excluded either. The Spirit then plainly told Peter - Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.
Peter responded by inviting Cornelius’s messengers into the home. And he will go with them too. And for the very first time share the Good News of Jesus with Gentile people.
Peter’s vision is the vision of every student of Jesus today. Not only does Jesus remove dietary restrictions of the Old Testament, He seeks to remove hostility between ethnic groups, bringing everyone together in close personal fellowship with Him.
Jesus' vision will become Peter's vision, because he's a good student of Jesus!