Tuesday July 27th, 2010
And a voice spoke to him a second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
The context of this verse is Peter on the roof of Simon the Tanner in Joppa. Cornelius has already sent men to fetch him and they are about to arrive. Peter does not yet know this and goes up on the roof to pray. He is hungry. God gives him a vision of a sheet being let down from heaven with all kinds of animals on it. God tells him to rise, kill, and eat, but Peter protests. He tells God that he has never eaten any unclean animal and God tells him the verse above. He is preparing Peter to share with the Gentiles, the very Gentiles who were about to knock on the door.
This was a rebuke (albeit a soft one) for Peter and it is one for me too. Peter thought that being a Jew made him better than others, whereas I thought that being a sinner made me worse. I am a sinner, but I am cleansed by the blood of God and so I may not debase or ridicule myself anymore. I don’t know what potential God saw in me when He decided to save me, but I don’t see it. If I lived went back in time to the time when Jesus walked the earth before He hung on the cross for my shame, I would probably try to convince Him not to go. My argument would be that I’m not worth it. I would say that it’s a bad deal and that He’s not going to get as much as He gives. Of course, He would rebuke me probably the same way He did Peter when He said, “Get behind me Satan,” (Matthew 16:23) and I would have kept quiet… for a while.
The truth is that I don’t think a lot of myself and I know I’m not worthy of God’s grace… but if I were worthy of it, it wouldn’t be grace, then would it? The problem is that it’s just so easy to see my own sin, and I get overwhelmed by how ugly it is. I know it’s paid for. I know I’m forgiven. I don’t have to say, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) because I know that Jesus will. He does it. He did it. It’s done. But until I can shed this body of death like a serpent sheds his old skin, I will have to keep a perspective that I am more than what I see in the mirror. Behind this frail human mask is an eternal soul, empowered by and is the dwelling place of the Living and Everlasting God. It’s a wonderful honor to be who I am. I have been cleansed and am continually shaped and formed everyday to be more and more like Jesus.
It’s still true that I have nothing of value to offer Jesus. My works are not good enough. My intelligence is not smart enough. My muscles aren’t strong enough. But He doesn’t want that. He just wants my surrender. He just wants my weakness. He wants me to trust Him with what I cannot do on my own, which I’m realizing more and more that that’s everything. He wants me. Not my skills. Not my abilities. Not my talents. Just me. I have been cleansed by the blood of God and am no longer common. I need to start treating myself that way.