You gotta love Simon Peter -
Jesus’s disciple who seemed to be
a Rock head!
LOL! Laugh out loud!
There’s always one -
among family and and friends
who has to “figure it out on their own.”
And that is what Peter did,
with the help of God!
And once again,
it took three times!
This seems to be the number
that follows Peter around!
when re-reading Matthew 15,
I laughed out loud
when the Holy Spirit showed me
that Peter is a rock head!
It was Peter
who asked Jesus for clarification
when He said,
“It’s not what goes into your mouth
that defiles you; you are defiled
by the words that come out of your mouth.”
“Explain to us the parable that says
people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”
Jesus asked him,
“Don’t you understand yet?”
And I might add…
“I mean really Peter,
You are such a Rock Head!”
LOL! Laugh out loud!
Jesus laid it all out,
and gave the explanation,
“Anything you eat
passes through the stomach
and then goes into the sewer.
But the words you speak
come from the heart -
that’s what defiles you.
For from the heart
come evil thoughts,
all sexual immorality,
theft, lying, and slander.
These are what defile you.
Eating with unwashed hands
will never defile you.”
But obviously Peter didn’t get it!
Because later on, after Jesus returned to Heaven,
God had to put Peter into a trance
to give him a vision to reinforce the explanation
of what Jesus said.
Of all the disciples, Peter is the one
who seemed to be stuck
in cultural expectations and traditions
of the Old Testament that pointed to Jesus,
especially the ones that focused on food.
For some reason, Peter did not fully understand
that the old had passed away, and the new had come!
And because God is good,
He gave him a double dose of reinforcement!
You see, God became flesh,
and his name was Jesus.
It was He who first explained to Peter
what He meant when he said,
“it’s not what you put into your mouth,
but rather by what comes out of it.”
But that was not enough to do it!
In the Book of Acts, God had to put Peter
into a trance just so that He could prepare his heart
to be the vessel He needed to do His work.
The scripture says,
“Peter went up on a flat roof to pray.
It was about noon, and he was hungry.
But while a meal was being prepared,
he fell into a trance.
He saw the sky open up,
and something like a large sheet
was let down by its four corners.
In the sheet were all sorts of animals,
reptiles, and birds.
Then a voice said to him,
“Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.”
“No, Lord,” Peter declared.
“I have never eaten anything
that our Jewish laws have declared
impure and unclean.”
But the voice spoke again:
“Do not call something unclean
if God has made it clean.”
The same vision
was repeated three times.
Then the sheet was suddenly
pulled up to heaven.
Peter was very perplexed.
“What could the vision mean?”
Just as Peter was puzzling over the vision,
the Holy Spirit said to him,
“Three men have come. Get up, go downstairs,
and go with them without hesitation.
Don’t worry, for I have sent them.”
So Peter went down and said,
“I’m the man you are looking for.
Why have you come?”
“We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer
(that means a Gentile, not a Jew)
He is devout and a God-fearing man,
well respected by all the Jews.
A holy angel instructed him
to summon you to his house
so that he can hear your message.
The next day Peter went with them,
accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa.
They arrived in Caesarea the following day.
Cornelius was waiting for them
and had called together
his relatives and close friends.
As Peter entered his home,
Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him.
But Peter pulled him up and said,
“Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!”
Then Peter said,
“You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man
to enter a Gentile home like this
or to associate with you.
But God has shown me
that I should no longer think
of anyone as impure or unclean.
So I came without objection
as soon as I was sent for.
Now tell me why you sent for me.
Cornelius replied, “Four days ago
I was praying in my house
about this same time,
three o’clock in the afternoon.
Suddenly, a man in dazzling clothes
was standing in front of me.
He told me, ‘Cornelius,
your prayer has been heard,
and your gifts to the poor
have been noticed by God!
Now send messengers to Joppa,
and summon a man named Simon Peter.
He is staying in the home of Simon,
a tanner who lives near the seashore.’
So I sent for you at once,
and it was good of you to come.
Now we are all here, waiting before God
to hear the message the Lord has given you.”
Then Peter replied,
“I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.
In every nation he accepts those who fear him
and do what is right.
This is the message of Good News
for the people of Israel
that there is peace with God
through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
You know what happened
throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee,
after John began preaching his message of baptism.
And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power.
Then Jesus went around
doing good and healing all
who were oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
And we apostles
are witnesses of all he did
throughout Judea and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death
by hanging him on a cross,
but God raised him to life on the third day.
Then God allowed him to appear,
not to the general public,
but to us whom God had chosen
in advance to be his witnesses.
We were those who ate and drank with him
after he rose from the dead.
And he ordered us to preach everywhere
and to testify that Jesus
is the one appointed by God
to be the judge of all -
the living and the dead.
He is the one all the prophets testified about,
saying that everyone who believes in him
will have their sins forgiven
through his name.
Even as Peter was saying these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening
to the message.
The Jewish believers who came
with Peter were amazed
that the gift of the Holy Spirit
had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.
For they heard them speaking in other tongues
and praising God.
Then Peter asked,
“Can anyone object to their being baptized,
now that they have received
the Holy Spirit just as we did?”
So he gave orders for them to be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts of the Apostles 10:9-48
By the way, there goes the doctrine
of having to be water baptized
before being able to have faith in Jesus
and being baptized by the Holy Spirit.
So there you have it!
Our God knows how to get our attention,
even when we are rock heads!
LOL! Laugh out Loud!
God has an amazing toolbox,
and uses all kinds of methods
and reinforcements to carry out His will.
And sometimes, even with all that He does -
we still don’t get it!
But because God is faithful,
even when we are not,
He will continue to correct us!
He will even send people to spread his message -
A great cloud of witnesses
who can testify to His greatness!
And that is what God did with Peter,
as He reinforced this message a third time!
When Peter started to slip
back into culture and tradition -
and doubt the Word of God,
God sent Paul.
In Galatians Chapter 2,
Paul approached Peter and confronted him
on his faith.
“When Peter came to Antioch,
I had to oppose him to his face,
for what he did was very wrong.
When he first arrived,
he ate with the Gentile believers,
who were not circumcised.
But afterward, when some friends of James came,
Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore.
He was afraid of criticism
from these people who insisted
on the necessity of circumcision.
As a result, other Jewish believers
followed Peter’s hypocrisy,
and even Barnabas
was led astray by their hypocrisy.
When I saw that they were not following
the truth of the gospel message,
I said to Peter in front of all the others,
“Since you, a Jew by birth,
have discarded the Jewish laws
and are living like a Gentile,
why are you now trying to make these Gentiles
follow the Jewish traditions?
“You and I are Jews by birth,
not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles.
Yet we know that a person
is made right with God
by faith in Jesus Christ,
not by obeying the law.
And we have believed in Christ Jesus,
so that we might be made right with God
because of our faith in Christ,
not because we have obeyed the law.
For no one will ever be made right with God
by obeying the law.”
But suppose we seek
to be made right with God
through faith in Christ
and then we are found guilty
because we have abandoned the law.
Would that mean Christ has led us into sin?
Rather, I am a sinner
if I rebuild the old system of law
I already tore down.
For when I tried to keep the law,
it condemned me.
So I died to the law - I stopped trying
to meet all its requirements -
so that I might live for God.
My old self has been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me.
So I live in this earthly body
by trusting in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.
I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless.
For if keeping the law
could make us right with God,
then there was no need for Christ to die.”
Thank you God for your faithfulness!
And forgive us for our stubbornness!
Sometimes it takes more than one experience with you
to teach us the truth!
“For You alone are worthy, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things,
and they exist because you created
what you pleased.”