This week we will be looking at the story of Peter and Cornelius. This is an exciting story for a couple reasons- first, we see the first follower of Jesus who was for sure Gentile (non-Jewish) and secondly, because we get to eat BACON! HA! In this story, we see an angel appear to Cornelius, who was a Roman soldier. The angel tells Cornelius that he has to speak with Peter, the apostle.
Before they can meet, Peter has a vision. In his vision, God shows Peter a sheet that comes down from Heaven with all sorts of animals on it. God tells Peter that he is free to kill and eat any of these animals if he is hungry. Peter, who has always followed Jewish law, says no because some of these animals are unclean to eat (see Deuteronomy 14). God instructs him that, now all things that He has created are considered clean.
When Peter and Cornelius finally meet, Peter realizes that Cornelius is a follower of Jesus. Peter knows that even though Cornelius is not a Jew, God has accepted him as His own. Peter remembers his vision and how all things (and people) that God created are now clean. As Peter is talking to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit came on to everyone who could hear him. All of them, including Cornelius are then baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Find a time this week to sit and ask these questions with your children. Really listen to what their responses are. If it seems appropriate, continue to go deeper. If not, encourage them to continue to think and ask questions of you as they come up.
1) What is your favorite food? Looking at Deuteronomy 14, would that food because considered "clean"? Would you choose to never eat that food again if it was?
2) Have you ever felt "unclean" or not worthy of Jesus? Jesus wants to make you clean by accepting HIS salvation. Once you have accepted that, you will never be unclean again! Have you accepted Jesus' promise that he will make you "clean"? It is a promise for EVERYONE! AMEN!