The life of Peter teaches us that we are all on a life-long journey to truly understand the radically inclusive meaning of the gospel of Jesus. Peter willingly accepts faith in Christ but yet struggles as we do to realize that God requires only his faith, not his works or effort to receive the glory in his life and in the world.
Like us, Peter struggles to keep faith and repentance at the center of his calling, and he also struggles with the idea that Jesus has given Christians the command and the strength to take up the Cross. In Sunday’s message, he struggles most with understanding that Christ came to call him to enter the lives of people that are not Jewish and therefore in his culture legally unclean. Like us, Peter is initially unwilling to step into the lives of people that the church considers unclean or undeserving of God’s love or Spirit. The surprise in this passage is that it’s Cornelius, the Gentile, who responds most quickly to the voice of God – even more quickly than Peter does. The lesson of today’s message is that God is already speaking to the world. Like Peter, He is challenging the church to humble itself and repent. In order for the church to spread the gospel to the world through evangelism, God is saying the change of heart and mind first begins with us.