Scripture Reading —Acts Chapter 10
He went in and found that many had assembled; and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Acts 10:27-29
Peter stood at the threshold of Cornelius’ home. Cornelius and his family were Gentiles who were earnestly seeking to know the Lord. Their many prayers were answered when an angel appeared to them and instructed them to send for Peter. As members of Cornelius’ household travelled to where Peter was staying, he had a vision. A great sheet filled with animals that were considered unclean by Jewish law unfurled before him, and he heard the Lord command him to eat. Peter rejected the command three times, and each time the Lord said to him, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” As Peter awoke from the vision, Cornelius’ messengers arrived at his door. Puzzled, Peter followed them to Cornelius’ home.
The Latin word ‘limen’ means ‘on the threshold.’ A threshold is the small strip of wood, metal, or stone that forms the bottom of a doorway. The threshold marks the boundary between one space and another. It is a place of transition. It is that space in which we leave behind what feels comfortable and safe while not really knowing what lies ahead. When we enter a liminal space, we are ‘on the threshold’ between what is behind and what is in front. While in a liminal space we encounter the great discomfort of uncertainty and confusion. We are challenged to see things differently, to re-examine our faith, to grapple with doubts, and to confront our fears.
On Easter morning, Peter was thrust into the great and still unfolding liminal space of the Resurrection. In the first chapter of Acts the resurrected Jesus tells Peter and the other disciples that they are to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes. The Spirit would guide them into the new future made possible in Jesus Christ. As the disciples had followed Jesus in the flesh, they were now called to follow him in the Spirit.
Nine chapters later we find that the Spirit has led Peter to the threshold of Cornelius’ home. The boundary between Jew and Gentile. Peter crosses the boundary despite his confusion and doubt. Peter follows God into the unknown. In doing so Peter enters a space of amazing grace as the “Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word (10:44).”
Peter had to let go of the past to allow God to do something new in his life and in the lives of others. Peter had to be vulnerable with God. Peter had to allow God to reshape him as God brought into existence the yet-to-be imagined blessings of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to take a moment to read all of Acts 10. This story is helpful to us as we think about the “on the threshold” moments of our lives. What does Peter’s response teach us? What threshold(s) has the Spirit led you to? What yet-to-be imagined blessings does God desire to bring forth in your life and lives of others?
God Bless You!