"When the angel who had spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa." NIV translation
This passage is a simple case of obedience. God sent an angel to Cornelius with instructions and Cornelius was simply obedient. That is what we are called to do as well but it takes practice. We also notice that Cornelius immediately sent the men to Joppa. It is good to remember that delayed obedience is still disobedience.
"About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance." NIV translation
This passage gives us a picture of God at work in several lives at the same time to fulfill his purpose. As God was working on Cornelius and having him send his men to Peter, God begins to prepare Peter for the event that God has already planned.
This same type of situation happens all of the time. God works in people to bring them together for his purposes. We get the opportunity and the blessing of participating in his perfect plans.
"He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.' 'Surely not, Lord' Peter replied. 'I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.' The voice spoke to him a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven." NIV translation
Isn't it hard to break traditions? In this passage, God is trying to get Peter to realize that salvation was meant for everyone and not just the Jewish people. The voice reminded Peter that it is God who decides who or what is clean or unclean. Do we have some of the same kind of traditions today as they did back then? Do we understand that there is one body of Christ (church) and that all are welcome? There are many people who are racists and call themselves Christians but this passage should open their eyes.