God’s Word for You
Acts 10:13-16 Kill and eat
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, March 3, 2020
13 Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 But the voice came to him a second time: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened a third time, and then the sail was immediately taken up to heaven.
Luke doesn’t identify the voice Peter heard. Since the Holy Spirit speaks more than once in the book of Acts, we cannot rule out his voice, but it’s just as likely that this was the risen and ascended Jesus speaking to his friend and apostle.
As on other occasions (Matthew 26:41; John 21:15-17), Peter had to be told three times. There is no divine significance in this number on this occasion, except to say that God is very gracious, and if he needs to repeat himself because men are flawed, frightened, or forgetful, then he glorifies himself by his willingness to repeat his words.
Jesus had already declared all food to be ceremonially clean. He said: “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean? For it does not enter his heart, but his stomach, and then out into the latrine. All foods are ceremonially clean” (Mark 7:18-19). The seat of our faith is the heart, not the stomach. Here on the rooftop, Peter was not only told that he could eat any food he wanted, but that he could even kill the animal himself. This is not the time or place to discuss the correctness of animal rights activists, but we should at least note the timeline of the use of clean and unclean animals:
1, At the creation, Adam and Eve were given the green plants to eat for their food (Genesis 9:2).
2, After the flood, God gave Noah and his descendants all animals for food in addition to the green plants (Genesis 9:2-3), as long as an animal was drained of its blood (Genesis 9:4).
3, In the days of Moses, God commanded that his people distinguish between clean and unclean animals, and he gave them a list to help them with this distinction (Leviticus 11:1-31; Deuteronomy 14:1-20).
4, Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses and explained that it was completed; it is fulfilled and set aside forever. All food is clean; there is no longer any unclean food (Mark 7:18-19).
5, Peter was given this reminder of what Jesus Christ has accomplished. All animals may not only be eaten, but the Christian may, in good conscience, personally kill any animal he plans to eat.
Therefore, if I am uncomfortable with a certain kind of food, I should not impose my squeamishness or preference on anyone else. This is for the sake of the gospel, not for the sake of variety. If I meet a vegetarian or vegan who needs the gospel, I will adapt myself for the sake of their soul. More than anything, I should be willing to do whatever I can for the sake of the gospel; but may God forgive those times when I have not, or when circumstances have gotten in the way. May the gospel of Jesus always be in our hearts as we strive to give glory to God.
Pastor Timothy Smith