Peter Got his Paradigm Shift on the Housetop
Cornelius did not delay, the next day he sent messengers to Peter, Acts 10:9. Peter by this time went on the “housetop” to pray about the “sixth hour”.
While Peter was there, “he became very hungry.” Before the meal was ready, Peter fell in a trance. Two things: I think this hunger that Peter experienced was “divinely placed on him” by Jesus. Peter was made hungry because of the nature of his vision. There’s no mention that Peter even got to pray.
It’s not by coincident that in Peter’s vision he was told, “Rise, Peter, kill, and eat.” This, I think, occurred because the Lord made Peter genuinely hungry.
Peter responded: “Not so LORD; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean,” Acts 10:14. However, the reply came from heaven to Peter, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common,” Acts 10:15.
This scenario played out three times before the sheet was withdrawn into heaven, Acts 10:16.
Saul Got his Paradigm Shift on the Damascus Road
Sometimes for the LORD to use us in certain circumstances He has to change our paradigm. To the Jews it was “unlawful” to have a friend who is of another nation, Acts 10:28. Under no circumstance could Peter be useful to Cornelius and the Lord Jesus with such a mind set. Peter desperately needed a paradigm shift from the Lord’s perspective. In order for the Lord to use Peter to bring salvation to Cornelius he had to change his perspective of the Gentiles.
Peter was useless to bring salvation to Cornelius if his perceptions of Gentiles remained unaltered because he would not interact with them. Believers cannot bring salvation to others if we cannot communicate with them. Therefore, Jesus had to intervene; His intervention gave Peter a paradigm shift.
In a sense Peter’s paradigm shift is similar to the paradigm shift Saul of Tarsus experienced on the Damascus road. Saul received a correct perception of Jesus Christ; Peter got proper perspective of none-Jewish people.
Later, when he visits Cornelius Peter would remark, “of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons,” Acts 10:34? In other words, Peter now sees he is no different from the Gentiles in the eyes of Jesus Christ.
Even after Peter had the vision of the sheet coming down from heaven, he was uncertain of its meaning, Acts 10:17. Therefore, the Lord had to employ further means to persuade Peter of the standing of the Gentiles in His eyes.
Is Your Attitude Similar to Peter’s Before his Paradigm Shift?
“While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them,” Acts 10:19-20, NIV.
Peter, being one of the Twelve Apostle, and a Jew, thought himself better that the Gentiles. He was not the only person with this problem for later his peers will ostracize him for visiting Cornelius, a Gentile and eating with him.
Jesus convinced Peter that He cleansed Peter from his sins and He has cleansed Cornelius and all other Gentiles who believe in the name of Jesus Christ, Acts 10:43. Therefore, both Jews and Gentiles are equal in the eyes of the Lord.
In closing, what have you taken away from this Bible Study? Is your attitude similar to Peter’s before his paradigm shift? Do you need to adjust your attitude to interact and communicate with someone to introduce Jesus Christ to him? Make the change today because that person’s salvation is held ransom by your selfish attitude! The LORD Jesus is waiting for you to effect your paradigm shift to bring His words to others for them to believe Him. You may need a paradigm shift on the housetop too!