Binding Broken Hearts

Introducing Jesus to Those Who Need Him Most

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The Power of the Word - Part 17

The rooftop of the house was his favorite place to pray. There was a hidden corner where he felt cut off from the noise emanating from the shops below. From the vantage point of the roof, he could see the ocean, smell the sea air, and listen to the sea birds squawk as they fished for food. The tanner’s house reminded him of his own house in Capernaum. He hadn’t been home for a while. His work as an apostle of Jesus kept him busy. Peter sometimes missed those days in the fishing boat. Now he was casting nets for men’s hearts. He was happy and content.

And hungry. The growling in his stomach brought him back from his reverie. He had come to pray before the midday meal, not to day dream about the past.

He hadn’t been praying long when he went into vision. He “saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’” (Acts 10:11-13)

In the vision, Peter could feel the revulsion rising in him as he watched the creatures he considered an abomination. He was hungry, but not THAT hungry.

“Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’” (Acts 10:14)

He thought that would be it. But it wasn’t.

“And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’” (Acts 10:15)

He thought this would be it. But it wasn’t.

“This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.” (Acts 10:16)

The vision ended, and Peter once again saw the ocean and heard the sea birds. What had just happened? God definitely was trying to tell him something, but what? It must be important because the message was given three times. Peter kept going over and over it trying to understand the message. But no matter how hard he tried, his mind was blank.

He finally heard his name being called by Simon from below. Simon was saying something about visitors looking for him.

“[T]the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.’” (Acts 10:19-20)

Peter obeyed and went downstairs. He introduced himself to the men who were looking for him. They explained that they had been sent by Cornelius the centurion. Peter invited them come in for the midday meal. He wanted to learn more about Cornelius and the strange errand he had sent these men on. They chatted all afternoon, and Peter invited them to stay the night. They would leave for Caesarea in the morning.

During the journey to Caesarea, Peter listened to the chatter around him with half an ear. He had been deeply impressed by the vision the day before, and he had yet to find the key to unlock the mystery of God’s message.

As they neared Caesarea, the traffic became heavier. Peter had to pay full attention to where he was walking so he wouldn’t run other people over. Being a large fisherman in these circumstances was a disadvantage. He could easily hurt someone if he wasn’t careful.

Once inside the city gates, their tiny group made their way through the large crowds of soldiers, merchants, and visitors to Cornelius’ house. The house of the centurion was impressive, with the front facing the sea. The fisherman in Peter appreciated the location of the house. The Jew in Peter recoiled at entering this Gentile’s home.

Peter felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit drawing him forward, so at last he crossed the threshold. Cornelius rushed toward him and fell at his feet in worship. Awkward.

“But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I myself am also a man.’” (Acts 10:26)

Cornelius stood up and began to inquire about the journey and the health of the tiny group of visitors. As he spoke, he led Peter and the rest of the group into a large sitting room filled with people. As he entered the room and saw all those eager Gentile faces, Peter had his “aha moment.” That which he had been struggling with for the past 24 hours suddenly became clear.

“Then he said to them, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’” (Acts 10:28)

The Word was powerful for changing Peter’s long-held prejudices against those who were not Jewish. Peter stepped out of his comfort zone that day and obeyed God’s Word by sharing Jesus with a group of people who were not only Gentiles, but Romans – the very nation that had done so many terrible things to his own people.

God blessed Peter’s obedience. As a result of hearing about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, everyone present was baptized by water and the Spirit. Peter learned that day that God loves every one of His children, and every one is worth saving.

“[S]ince you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” (Colossians 3:9-11)

This is why Binding Broken Hearts is passionate about getting God’s Word into prisons and into the hands of inmates who so desperately need that Word so that they can learn to see Christ in everyone they come in contact with regardless of rank, position, nationality, or ethnicity. Because these are men and women who need Jesus most.

Perhaps you want to help spread the power of His Word to an inmate who desperately needs its power. If so, please consider becoming a financial partner with us. Click here to see how you can help.

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