Sunday – April 5, 2020
Word On Worship – Sunday – April 5, 2020
“As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda.”
As Christians, we do not come to our faith without some assembly required. The problem most of us have is that we expect to already be “there” when in reality God intends on completing a process within us. The apostles and Peter were no different. Peter’s change of mind was progressive, just as Paul’s conversion involved a process. Geographically, the progress is most evident. Peter started in Jerusalem, then went down to Samaria, and to some of the Samaritan towns (8:14, 25). Sometime later, Peter was found in Lydda (9:32) and then at Joppa (9:39, 43), and then at Caesarea (10:24). After this, he would return to Jerusalem (11:2).
The changes in Peter’s place of residence were used by God to play a very crucial role in preparing him for the invitation to come to the house of Cornelius. I doubt that Peter would have gone to Caesarea and to the house of Cornelius if he would have received the invitation to do so while he was staying in Jerusalem. It was here that his devoutly Jewish fellow-apostles and brethren lived. And it was precisely these folks who “called Peter on the carpet” for preaching the gospel in the home of this Gentile, Cornelius. But God took Peter and John to Samaria, where they welcomed many Samaritan saints into the faith and into the church. Then, at some point in time, God led Peter to Lydda, then to Joppa, and finally to Caesarea.
This sequence of events removed Peter from Jerusalem, and from the legalistic separatism of his Jewish brethren. It put him in contact, no doubt, with a larger number of Gentiles. It resulted in his contact with a woman who had died, as was thus not only ceremonially unclean, but also defiling to Peter. It also put Peter in constant daily contact with a tanner, a man who daily dealt with dead animals. It would seem that some of Peter’s scruples with “unclean” things would have had to have been set aside. The change of setting was preparatory in the life of Peter, making him more open to the invitation to go to the house of a Gentile. I am sure Peter would much rather stay in the comfort of his own home in Jerusalem and enjoy the fellowship of the other apostles. Yet God moved him out of the city to prepare him for what God would do next.
We are living in unprecedented times, where schools are closed, people line up 6 feet apart to buy groceries and we live in self quarantine in our own homes. But God is still working, challenging us to minister in new ways and in new circumstances. Just like Peter could not remain in Jerusalem, so we find ourselves in a very new way of living. We may not enjoy the process God is using to bring about these changes, but take the time to speak with God and ask Him what process He is taking you to make you into follower of Jesus He has called you to be.