While Cornelius' two soldiers were on the way to get Peter from Joppa, Peter had a vision when he went to the housetop at noon to pray. In his vision, he saw a large sheet with all kinds of four-footed animals, crawling creatures, and birds. And he heard a voice saying, "Kill and eat!" Peter replied, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean." There are certain animals that God commanded the Jews not to eat in the Old Testament, and Peter was confused about why the Lord wanted him to eat the unclean animals. But the Lord responded, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unclean." This vision happened three times, and the sheet was taken up into the sky. While Peter was still trying to figure out what the vision meant, Cornelius' two soldiers came to pick him up. The Spirit of God directed Peter to go with them. (Acts 10:9-23).
Peter's vision is important to prepare Peter's heart to accept the Gentiles into the kingdom of God. The unclean animals on the sheet represent the Gentiles. At this point, Peter and the other Christian Jews believed that Gentiles (non-Jewish people, like us) were unclean because the Gentiles were known to worship other gods. However, God was about to reveal to Peter that all Gentiles were acceptable to God as long as they put their faith in the Lord Jesus. And this was why God gave Peter and Cornelius a vision to prepare their hearts. One was a Gentile, and the other was a Jew. However, both were acceptable to God equally as God's children, and this was the mystery that God talked about concerning the church of Christ.
The lesson that we can learn from this story is that all believers of Jesus are equal in God's eyes. We are all saved by faith through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. There is no favoritism in God's kingdom because God loves and accepts us equally. We are all been forgiven the same. As a result, God wants us to accept and love one another as His children.
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through these questions carefully and meditate on them while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speaks to you). Is there favoritism in God? How should I live my life knowing that I am God's child? How should I treat other believers?
Father in Heaven, thank you for saving me as one of your children. Thank you for cleansing me of my sins through the blood of my Lord Jesus. Please help me to accept and love my fellow believers, for we are all your children. In your name Jesus, I pray. Amen.