I explained during our Bible study that while the sheet being brought down from heaven was symbolic of the Gentile inclusion in the gospel, this is also a literal vision. The reason is this. To a Jew, it would have been unthinkable to have a meal with a Gentile mainly because the Gentiles did not keep the food laws. It is impossible to accept someone whom you are unwilling to share in the intimacy of table fellowship. Since the Jews and Gentiles could not share a meal, the Jews did not pursue Gentiles in the spreading of the Gospel. God tore down that barrier by allowing the Jews and Gentiles to eat together.
Application: I asked the youth this question. “In our society and culture today, what is separating us from having table fellowship with others?” While this question was unclear, I asked again, “What stops us from sharing the gospel? What inhibits, separates, and divides us like food did for the Jews and Gentiles?” There are three things that separate us from people. The Image of God. We don’t view people as bearing the image of God. We somehow view them with a stigma. The second reason being our Selfishness: we are a selfish society, even within the church. We are always in a rush trying to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. Ted Laverdiere said this, “We view people as objects to move around or past while we should view people as people bearing the image of God to move TO!”
The next day while I was shopping with my son at a local grocery store, I passed two people talking and realized I knew one of the people. She was a parent of a student in the group. I walked up, and she was explaining to this man how to get to our church. I helped fill in the gaps of the directions, and then I realized that this mother had taken the time to not move around this individual but to move toward this person. Even though I taught this lesson just the night before, it was encouraging and humbling to see this adult take the time to socialize with this individual. What an absolutely humbling experience to see. We invited the individual to our church service this Sunday, and I pray we see him there. My challenge to every single one of us is to ask ourselves are we going to take the time to view people in the image of God and allow ourselves to have table fellowship with those who are often viewed as not worthy.