Monday, February 21, 2011


Acts 10:13 And there came a voice to him: "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

13 καὶ ἐγένετο φωνὴ πρὸς αὐτόν· ἀναστάς, Πέτρε, θῦσον καὶ φάγε.

This is another one of those verses that make little sense to us in our 21st century mostly Gentile context. Here Peter had received a vision telling him that he not only could, but should go out and eat any animal. Of course, in Peter's inimitable style he rebukes the Lord and is subsequently corrected. I find it fascinating that he is given two imperatives to θῦσον καὶ φάγε. This is not a suggestion.

This is not to say that eating vegetables is sinful. The context for all of this is the strict dietary laws that the Jews received from the Lord. As a good Jew Peter never would have eaten anything considered unclean. Here he is not only given permission to, but he is being told to. This ultimately leads to his interaction with Cornelius, who becomes the first recorded Gentile convert.

I think that the point is that the Lord is forcing Peter out of where he is comfortable. He is very clearly telling him that the old rules no longer apply. There is freedom in Christ for everybody. Go and do the unthinkable -- eat a ham sandwich. Go and do the unthinkable -- tell a Gentile about Christ.

So on the surface this verse is a great argument against some of the crazy PETA folks. While there may be health reasons not to eat meat I don't think that there are any good moral reasons. But even beyond the joys of pork this verse is part of a passage that explains how Christ must be preached to everyone -- even to those we find to be unclean.

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