Hunters Welcome Here
The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Acts 10:9-13.
It’s that time of year where orange is the fashion choice of hunting season. People often ask me, “Are you a hunter?” Not really though I grew up on a farm in Kansas with deer, quail, pheasants, and wild turkey’s all around. Folks around here are sighting in guns, scouting out area’s where critters are gathering, and setting up camp. They are hunting for bear, mountain lion, deer and elk.
It is astonishing to observe the many travelers that invade the mountains at this time of year. Many local stores, restaurants, and even churches unroll and hang the infamous, “Hunters welcome here” signs.
Yes, we all want to get the hunters to stop in for a visit. Often, these hunters have interesting stories of taking down a trophy or others tell about the one that got away. In Acts 10 we find Peter far from home. He has been summoned to Joppa by a couple of local trappers (disciples).
It was getting towards lunchtime, Peter was hungry, waiting for dinner when this vision overtook him. He saw all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds in that sheet. Yet this was not his diet of fish or any kind of food that he had eaten before. Peter had been a fisherman operating a commercial business on the sea before Jesus called him into service.
He heard a voice telling him: “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” This went against his nature. The living creatures were common, meaning they were unclean to a righteous Jew. Yet the voice repeated three times over, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”
I believe there is a message in this vision for each of us. God, through Jesus had fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17; Romans 10:4). He was opening a new pattern of relationships between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female (Gal. 3:28-29). Just as God was using Paul to preach Christ to the Gentiles, Peter was also to see firsthand that these Gentiles were welcomed into the family of faith.
It went against Peter’s religious background. But God knows how to grow us beyond religion into relationships with the most unlikely characters. On the other hand, are we willing to move toward those today that feel a sense of being common and unclean? Do we welcome strangers in to dine with us in the family of faith? We have the welcome mat out as the hunters come visiting our backyard and may they leave with more than a nice story.
Prayer: In Jesus name, direct our attention to those that need a fresh view of the children of God. May we find joy and enjoyment by seizing the opportunity to get out in the community and welcome those whom are awaiting an invitation to come home. Amen.
James Conley, Pastor
First Baptist Church