The rules have changed…

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Acts 9:36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37 At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner. 

In v.43 we read that Peter stayed with “Simon, a tanner”. Why include this vocational detail? One of my bible resources says, “a tanner carries the odors and blood of animals that would make him ‘unclean.’” I expect a good Jew would not have stayed with a tanner since close proximity to someone unclean would have made him ritually unclean as well. To me it’s a clue that the rules are about to change. The purity laws, dietary restrictions, and so on will not be allowed to stand in the way of the proclamation of the gospel.

At the start of this new calendar year it seems to me our rules are changing. The world is very different than it was this time last year, never to return. Peter could not have known just how radically his world had shifted, nor do I believe can we. But, like Peter, we don’t have to know what lies ahead. We just need to know Jesus, who will lead and guide us into the future. I don’t know much, but I know that.

Lord, let it be so. Amen.

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