Why was Peter’s vision of a sheet and animals important?


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. 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 and birds. 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.” Acts 10:9-16
            Peter still had some Old Testament prejudices inside him that God needed to deal with.  He still saw the Gentiles (non-Jews) as unclean and unworthy to be saved.  God’s vision of unclean animals spoke to the dietary restrictions a good Jew followed.  However, Peter saw Gentiles as unclean.  God told Peter that only He determined what was clean or unclean.  Right after this dream, some men from Cornelius, the military leader of an Italian regiment, came to bring him to their boss’ house.  Peter spoke the Gospel and they got saved, filled with the Holy Spirit.
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Acts 10:44-46
            Peter understood he needed to set aside his favoritism (prejudice) and allow all people to receive Jesus—Jews and non-Jews.