Do You Need a Breakthrough?
Day: 11 | Plan: Acts
Today's Reading: Acts 10:1-33
Acts 10:15 (NIV) “The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’”
To get to a breakthrough sometimes God has to break you.
We don’t like to think that way, do we? Like me, do you think of breakthroughs as the victorious moment when your circumstances changed, a conflict was resolved or God fixed “that person”? Yeah, those are the kinds of breakthroughs I like. But I think today’s passage teaches us a valuable principle about breakthroughs.
Let me say it again, to get to your breakthrough sometimes God has to break you.
Two major characters are involved in this breakthrough, but it will impact the future of the entire family of God forever. That’s not hyperbole. Acts 10 and its ripple effects change the face of the Church. This is such a huge breakthrough.
First, we meet Cornelius, an important man in the Italian army, overseeing the region of Caesarea for Rome. Essential to this part of the story is the fact that Cornelius is a Gentile, a non-Jew by birth.
God speaks to Cornelius in a dream and tells him to send men of his household to Joppa to find Peter the apostle and ask him to come stay in Cornelius’s home.
Peter’s reply would likely be “no.” It was forbidden for Jews to associate with Gentiles. Worse yet, Romans typically hated Christians. But Cornelius obeys, the beginning of this breakthrough.
At this same time Peter receives a vision from the Lord where he is instructed to choose an animal to kill and eat. The problem is that the animals presented are both “clean” and “unclean.” In the laws given in Leviticus the Israelites were forbidden to eat animals God defined as “unclean.” So, Peter a law-abiding Jew, refuses.
The vision concludes with those Church-changing words, “do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15). While Peter didn’t know the exact application of this vision when Cornelius’ men arrive in Joppa, he accepts their request.
God is making Cornelius, a Roman Gentile, clean. Peter’s willingness to stay in Cornelius’ home broke every Jewish social restriction of the time. New Christians were still trying to understand how to interpret Christ’s words that He came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. (Matthew 5:17) What did this mean for their understanding of religious laws and customs? Could they now eat meats that had for generations been unclean? Could a Christian Jew dine and stay with a Christian Gentile?
This social and cultural breakthrough changed everything! But God began this breakthrough by breaking Cornelius and Peter first. Cornelius could have said no. He would have been right to assume that this mission for his men would be a colossal waste of time and money. But God broke though Cornelius’s pride and invited this soon-to-be follower into deeper waters of trust.
God broke through Peter’s reservations and religious DNA to invite this Spirit-filled spokesperson to take the gospel to outcasts who were now welcomed in. We will see that this was not widely celebrated or accepted at first.
Cornelius’ and Peter’s small acts of brokenness paved the way for our restoration. Thousands of years and millions of ripples later, we are blessed by their “yes.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, oh how I want You to help me break through some impossible situations in my life. I confess that what I really mean by that prayer is that I want You to fix everybody else. Not break me. From today’s truth from Scripture, help me seek You and listen to Your gentle invitations. I know they might not feel comfortable, but I believe my brokenness is a breakthrough in the making. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Do the terms “clean” and “unclean” seem a bit unclear to you? Well,... Read More
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