Hi all! Today’s story comes from Acts 10. Our lesson and craft from last year on this story can be found HERE.
In a city called Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a Roman soldier. He and all his family loved God, even though they were not Israelites (God’s “chosen” people). He was generous (helped people and gave them things they needed) and he prayed to God. One day he had a vision (like a dream). He saw an angel who said, “Cornelius! God has heard your prayers and seen your gifts to the poor. God wants you to send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Peter.” (Do you remember Peter? He was Jesus’ disciple and friend. He walked on the water with Jesus, and he pretended he didn’t know Jesus the night He died. But when he found out Jesus was alive again, he jumped out of his boat and swam to hug Him! And now he was busy telling everyone about Jesus!)
Cornelius was scared! But he called three of his helpers and he told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
At lunchtime the next day Peter went up on the roof of a house to pray. He was very hungry and wanted something to eat, so while lunch was being made, he prayed and had a dream. He saw a large sheet coming down and it had all kinds of animals on it, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill these animals and eat them.”
“No way, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” (Back then God’s people were not supposed to eat certain animals. This was for two reasons. The first reason is some of these animals are not very healthy for people to eat and especially back then when they didn’t know much about germs and cooking germs out of food. God was protecting His people from the yucky foods. But, the second and more important reason is that God’s people were supposed to be different from everyone else. He chose some animals to be “clean”…clean and good for eating and ALSO for sacrifices. These animals were used to make up for the peoples’ sins. God was using this as a reminder that some things are Holy (set apart). He wants His people to be clean and pure in their hearts like the good, clean food. God’s people had been different from everyone else, just like some of the animals were set apart and good to eat.) Peter has always obeyed God’s rules about eating and didn’t want to be unclean in God’s eyes by eating bad food.
The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything bad that God has made clean.”
This happened three times, and then the sheet and the animals were taken back to heaven.
Peter was confused about the meaning of the dream and was thinking about it when the men sent by Cornelius came to the house. They yelled, asking if Peter was staying there.
While Peter was still thinking about the dream, God’s Spirit said to him, “Peter, three men are looking for you. Go downstairs. Do not be afraid to go with them, for I have sent them.”
So Peter went and the next day Peter and some other people who loved God went with the three men to Cornelius’ house. When they arrived, Cornelius was waiting for them and had invited a lot of people to his house to hear Peter talk about God. Peter now knew what his dream meant.
Peter went inside and said to them: “You all know that it is against our law for a Jew (all Jews are Israelites from Israel, but not everyone who was living in Israel was a Jew–one of God’s chosen people from Judah) to visit a Gentile (someone who is not a Jew.) But God has shown me that I should not call anyone unclean. May I ask why you sent for me?”
Cornelius answered: “I had a dream and God told me to send for you. It was good of you to come see us! Now we are all here to listen to everything God has commanded you to tell us.”
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but loves anybody who trusts Him and obeys Him. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know how God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who need it, because God was with Him. We saw everything He did. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day. He told us to teach and to say that Jesus is the one whom God chose and everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”
While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit came into the hearts of everybody there. The Jewish believers who had come with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit had been given out even on Gentiles. The new believers were baptized and God welcomed them as His children, just like He does for us!
Before the Israelites had been God’s chosen people…but God sent Jesus for ALL of us. He loves EVERYBODY and wants us all to know Him and love Him. No matter what we look like, sound like, even what we act like. Before God’s people had been the “clean ones” but now God was showing Peter that he shouldn’t call other people “unclean.” God wants to love EVERYONE! Even people who make bad choices…God loves them too. (Which is everyone. We all sin sometimes!) God wants to know us and forgive us. Isn’t that the BEST news?! That is called the Gospel. God sent His son to die for all of us, not just a few…for ALL of us. He loves us and wants us to choose Him. God loves everyone!
For our craft today we made heart people. We took a full piece of construction paper and cut out a heart. Then we cut out three long strips of paper (and cut one in half). These became the legs and the 1/2 pieces became the arms. We fan folded them and taped them on. Then we added a face and the text: God loves EVERYBODY! Acts 10
This video is posted by Kids Apps and is told storybook style.
This video is from Gracelink and is posted by Sabbath School (we always enjoy their videos).
Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all!