Bizarre Foods with Peter
Ew, it's a Gentile!
Back when God gave Moses the law, he gave him a list of foods that his people were not supposed to touch or eat— like lizards, pigs, and certain birds, like seagulls and hawks. God called these animals unclean. You can find the whole list in Leviticus 11. The religious rulers stretched God’s command. They told the Jews that it wasn’t just the food the Gentiles ate but the Gentiles themselves that were unclean. That is why the Jewish people would not even go into the house of a Gentile. But God had never forbidden that. In fact, God planned to reach people from every nation.
To teach Peter that the good news of the gospel was for the Gentiles too, God gave him a vision of the unclean animals and told Peter to kill and eat them. That was hard for Peter because from his childhood he had been taught that it was wrong to eat those things. That is why God reminded Peter that he made the rules— and if God made something clean, then it was clean. To make sure Peter got the message, God repeated the vision three times. God wanted to teach Peter to preach the gospel to everyone, including the Gentiles, whom the Jews thought were unclean.
What was the big deal about Gentiles?
To make absolutely sure the people of Israel obeyed all God’s law, the Pharisees took God’s law and made it even more strict. So when God said that a person should not work on the Sabbath, the Pharisees added a rule that said a person could not even touch a tool on the Sabbath or carry anything. That way, there was no way a person could break God’s law by working on the Sabbath. Another rule they made up was that Jews were not permitted to even go into the house of a Gentile. Since the Gentiles ate unclean foods, the religious rulers said the Gentiles themselves were also unclean. That is why when the Jews went to Pilate to accuse Jesus, Pilate had to come out of his house to talk to them (John 18: 28). But God had never said Gentiles were unclean. Jesus died for all people, which means that the gospel message was for Gentiles too.