This was not Peter’s plan at all.
Go to a group of Gentiles? Eat with them? Even baptize them? No, this is not Peter’s plan, at all.
But it was God’s.
All throughout this chapter God through His Holy Spirit is leading the way:
- Long before Peter came along, Cornelius and his household had developed a reverence for God and a life of prayer and giving (10:2)
- The messengers from Cornelius’ household were sent by God to Peter, not vice versa (10:5-6, 20)
- God brought Peter the vision of the sheet and animals
- The Spirit coaxes Peter along: “It’s all right; get up, go down, and go with them. Don’t be prejudiced.” (10:20)
- Peter says his change of perspective came because “God showed me I should call nobody ‘common’ or ‘unclean.“” (10:28)
- Out of the ordinary pattern we see in Acts, the Holy Spirit fell on the household before they were baptized (10:44-48), which is best understood as God showing proactively that these Gentiles were acceptable and baptism should be extended by a reticent Peter
As one of you said in a recent comment, this book is more about the acts of the Holy Spirit than the “acts of the Apostles.” And yet, it is the acts of the Apostles too, in that they are the vehicles of God’s gospel and grace in a partnership between God and humanity. They have to obey and go. Still, this is God’s mission to rescue a lost world. Like Peter, too often we wouldn’t choose to go where God sends. We wouldn’t reach out to the people He chooses. Leave it to God to broaden our horizons!
May we find the places in life where God has already been working. May we set out to simply play the part that is needed next.