The Peter Principle

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard
2014 23 Jan

"Why have you come?” Acts 10:21
"May I ask why you sent for me?” Acts 10:29

I never noticed these two questions until I was reading Acts 10 this morning. The first part of this chapter is filled with prayers, visions, angels and messages from God. Through these supernatural events God was orchestrating events to prepare Peter (raised a devout Jew) to bring the gospel to the household of Cornelius (a God-fearing Gentile). There is much to learn here about how far God will go to prepare the saints to take the Good News to those who need it and how far God will go to prepare people to receive the Good News.

But that’s not what struck me this morning.

When the men Cornelius sent show up where Peter is staying in Joppa, Peter has no idea why they’ve come. That explains the first question: "Why have you come?"

Answer: Cornelius sent us to you.

So he travels with them to Caesarea where he meets Cornelius and his household. Then the second question: "May I ask why you sent for me?"

Answer: We are here to listen to what God has told you to tell us.

When Peter preaches the Good News, the Holy Spirit falls on everywhere there, they believe in Jesus and are baptized. Thus did the gospel cross the ethnic barrier separating Jews and Gentiles.

Now here’s what struck me with great force. After his amazing vision from God of the animals in the sheet lowered from heaven (vv. 9-16), Peter still doesn’t understand. That’s why he asks "Why are you here?” and "Why did you send for me?"

If Peter wasn’t totally clear on the big picture of life, we shouldn’t feel bad if we aren’t clear either. If we stand back and look at Acts 10, we can see that God was orchestrating every detail on both sides to bring Peter and Cornelius together. Yet Peter had no clue why he was going to Caesarea and Cornelius didn’t know what Peter was going to say.

What God requires from any of us is simple obedience.
Just take the next step.
You don’t need to know the big picture.

When you need to know, you’ll know.

You don’t know right now because you don’t need to know right now.
If you needed to know, you would know.
When you need to know, God will make it plain.

Let’s call it the Peter Principle.
Just take the next step in front of you.
Don’t worry about the big picture.

God will make it all plain in good time. Just do what lies before you, walk into the light you are given, and obey as best you can.

Take the next step and let God take care of the details.

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