The Man on the Roof (Part 1)

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Peter lived in a country that had no snow, and so the rooftops were flat. People could easily go up to the rooftop for a little quietness and fresh air.
Peter went up to the housetop to pray, not a quick prayer at bedtime, but really a time for seeking God’s will for the day. Then he felt very hungry, and while they were cooking a meal for him, he fell asleep, and in his sleep he had a vision.
Are you wondering what a vision is? It’s something like a dream but far more real. Now God speaks to us from the Bible, and it is complete. God has nothing more to write. If we want to know His will, the Holy Spirit will bring the Word of God to us, as we are ready to hear it.
Did you notice that Peter’s food was not ready? Maybe that is a reminder to us that in Peter’s time the Word of God was not complete. So God spoke to His people in different ways when they were hungry to know His will. Today you and I have the complete Bible to turn to, to learn what God wants to tell us.
Peter saw the vision of a great sheet, let down from heaven by the four corners. In that sheet he saw all kinds of animals, creeping things and birds. Then a Voice said to him, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat” (Acts 10:1313And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. (Acts 10:13)).
Something inside of Peter shuddered at the sight of this kind of food. God had told His people long ago that they must not eat anything unclean. So how could a Jewish man eat these unclean creatures? Peter answered, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean” (Acts 10:1414But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. (Acts 10:14)). But how can you say “No” when the Lord speaks?
Peter was right in what God had commanded the Jewish people earlier, but since Christ had come and died for us, no man or animal was to be treated as unclean. The Lord Jesus said, “God so loved the world” (John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)), and that includes every nation, every sinner, and every person who believes in that precious Saviour of sinners. That means you too, no matter where you were born or what color your skin is.
God knew Peter’s problem, and He repeated the vision three times so Peter would understand. But he was still puzzled. It was so opposite to the religion God had given His people long ago.
Suddenly, Peter’s thoughts were interrupted by three visitors asking for him. I don’t think Peter heard their knock on the door, but God told him they were there and added, “Go with them.  ...  I have sent them” (Acts 10:2020Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. (Acts 10:20)).
There was no doubt now who had sent the visitors, even though they were Romans and not Jews. Peter and a few others walked with them until they reached the home of Cornelius, a Roman centurion.
Now God had already spoken to Cornelius. He had sent an angel to tell him to bring Peter, and so there was a group gathered in his house all ready to hear what God had to tell them. Here they were, and Cornelius’s heart overflowed with joy! Can you guess what he did? Maybe you’ll be surprised. The answer is in the next story.
Think About God’s Word!
1. What did Peter see in his vision?
2. God doesn’t play favorites. How does 1 Timothy 2:3-4 show that this is true?
Project: The Book of Acts shows how energetically the gospel was preached throughout the world. How many different examples can you find of the gospel being preached to different groups of people?