Drinking Deeply

Saturday, March 04, 2006 at 11:31 AM

Take, Kill, and Eat

Why is eating so different? What does it mean? Why was it an issue? What does it mean anyways? Do we eat pig simply because God changed His mind and now we're able to?

Of course not, the dietary food had an explicit reason, in fact one that is still binding upon us today.

The scene is the early church. Here, God decides to reveal what the prophets had fortold long ago. The good news. Salvatioin has come to the Gentiles. Meet Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile. He has a vision from God and is told that God has heard his prayers. Send people to go meet Peter. Acts 10:1-8

The second main character is Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, a God-fearing, law-keeping Jew. He has a trance and sees the heavens opened and God tells him to kill and eat. Peter, protesting, states that it would be eating something common and unclean. And God says "What God has made clean, do not call common." Acts 10:9-16

The greatest player here is God. Do you see God's sovereign plan here? He has planned this. He places Peter, in the city with Cornelius, and starts the ball rolling with visions and dreams and commands. People are moving, God is working, and He is revealing His plan for the ages.

And then the men sent by Cornelius come and find Peter. God commands Peter "Go with them without heisitation," and Peter obeys. Upon meeting Cornelius, God starts to grant Peter understanding. He states, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me." Acts 10:17-29

Cornelius explains his vision and command from God, and Peter presents the Gospel. He tells of the ressurected Christ, and the Holy Spirit comes to the Gentiles. They are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 10:30-48

So how does this passage answer our question? What happened here that was so significant?

First off, realize that the subject matter of eating clean and unclean foods was of great importance to the Jews. It was what God had ordained to set them apart from the Gentiles. In Leviticus 11, God lays down the laws about clean and unclean animals, and then gives us the reason in verse 44-45
For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
These laws were God's way of setting off the Israelites as His chosen people. They were to be clean and set apart (Consecrated) through this mechanism. What happens in the NT? Christ, upon His death, died and abolished the dividing wall of hostility and brought the Gospel to the Gentiles.

God was talking about killing and eating animals, but Peter makes the connection with being clean and associating with Gentiles. The light of understanding is starting to shine through for Peter. Previously he would not have associated with Cornelius, because he was a Gentile, and therefore unclean and common. But Paul knows that the food represented something deeper, his identity as a member of God's people, but now God was abolishing that on the outside. No longer was the people of God to be distinguished by what they ate. Now that salvation had come to the Gentiles as well, that line was now blurred.

Yet, the OT Law is still very relevant. God's commands for us to be consecrated because He is Holy is still applicable, simply applied differently. Now, as Christians, we were to be seperate from the world in other actions. We were to come out from among them, not sharing fellowship with darkness. We were to eat and drink to the glory of God, something that no non-Christian can do.

So next time you sit down for a meal and say grace, don't just thank God for providing the food that nourishes our body, but thank God for providing His Son that rescues our soul. It is through that death that we are even able to enjoy this food, it is through His abolishment of the dividing wall that we are made clean, it is through Him, and Him alone that we may be saved.

Soli Deo Gloria

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Blogger ts said...

that's a great post, mxu! you have a small typo, though. somewhere in the middle you wrote about paul when you meant "peter preached the gospel."  

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