The worldwide Church - Page 2


Peter and Cornelius

Peter at Joppa

It happened one day that Peter came to the coast town of Joppa, or Jaffa as it is called today.  It was a very busy port and Peter stayed at a house overlooking the harbour.  One morning he went up onto the flat roof of the house to say his prayers as all Jews did in the middle of the day.  From that rooftop Peter would have had a good view of the ships in the harbour.  Some would have been tied up at the quay, unloading their cargoes, others coming into port after a long voyage.  But perhaps the ones he noticed most were the ones setting out to sea.  He would have seen the sails hoisted and the ships slowly beginning their voyages to far off lands where the people had never heard of Jesus.  And perhaps he thought that he ought to be on one of those ships because Jesus had commanded the Apostles to go and teach all nations.  But how could a Jew mix with people of all nations, when he was not allowed to eat the same kind of food as they ate?

Peter’s vision

While he was on the flat roof, Peter became hungry and while a meal was being prepared for him, he had a strange vision.  He saw what looked like a great sheet (or perhaps a sail) being let down by its four corners, and in it were all kinds of animals and birds, many of which no Jew was allowed to eat.  Then Peter heard a voice say” Get up, Peter; kill and eat”.  Peter answered, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean”.  The voice spoke again and said, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane” (NRSV, Acts 10:9-15).  This happened three times and then the sheet was taken up again into the sky.