Holy, as you may know, means set apart, separate.
We know that God is a special kind of Holy—in fact He is thrice holy—Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts! He’s surrounded by angels protecting the unsuspecting passerby of this immense holiness, as if the throne and smoke and shaking and all that were not enough.
In Jewish culture there were two classes of stuff. Stuff here refers to people and things. There were holy things and holy people, those set apart from the rest of the stuff for God’s service, and then there was rest of the stuff.
The interesting thing is that objects and people who were not holy would be called common. Of course there were extremes of common and unholy, but as a class anything that was not set apart specifically for God’s service was considered unholy—common.
But the cross changed something—drastically.
It was so drastic that it was years after Pentecost before the apostles even got what was going on.
The book of Acts jumps the time line in decades more or less. If you look at the chapter number, staring with about chapter 10, you will find yourself more or less that number of years beyond the cross. OK—it’s a really rough estimate, but Peter’s encounter with Cornelius in Acts 10, was something like ten years after the death and resurrection of Christ.
Ten years after Jesus told them to go into all the world and preach to everyone.
Ten years since the blood of Jesus washed away all our sin.
Ten years since: God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. - (2 Corinthians 5:19 NASB)
So Peter’s up on the roof and is drawn into a trans where an angel offers him a ham sandwich.
Here’s the verse that really nailed it for me this morning though:
And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. - Acts 10:28 NASB
Let me emphasize:
I should not call any man unholy or unclean.
Do you suppose there were wicked men in Peter’s day?
Do you think some might have been considered evil?
Let me be clear. This did not mean they didn’t need to repent and believe. This did not mean they didn’t need to hear the gospel. On the contrary, the command was to preach to every man, woman and child that Jesus Christ is Lord.
What it meant in context was, instead of being against these non-jews and seeing them as the enemy, Peter needed to treat them as the precious harvest that the Lord Jesus wanted to bring into His garner.
The darker it seems, the more the world needs the light of the gospel to shine. The Lord can work in any amount of darkness to change hearts—to call His enemies in His service.
I urge you today (Ben, I’m talking to you, dude) to look through the eyes of Peter and see, no man is unholy today. No man is beyond the reach of the gospel. As I have said many times, Jesus can speak anyone’s language.
Shine where your plugged in,