Cornelius asks Peter to come to him
1There was a man who lived in Caesarea and his name was Cornelius. He was an officer in the Roman army, a leader of 100 soldiers. His group of soldiers was called ‘The Group from Italy’. 2Cornelius was a good man. He and all his family believed in God and they obeyed him. Cornelius prayed to God every day. He also gave money to help poor Jewish people. #10:2 Cornelius was a not a Jew. But he believed in God and he obeyed the Law of Moses. His family and all his servants also prayed to God and obeyed him.
3One afternoon, at about 3 o'clock, Cornelius had a special dream. He clearly saw one of God's angels. The angel came in and said to him, ‘Cornelius!’ #10:3 It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. That was a time when the Jews prayed to God. Cornelius was not sleeping when he had his special dream. He was praying when he saw the angel.
4Cornelius looked at the angel and he was afraid. He asked, ‘Master, why have you come to me?’
The angel answered, ‘God has heard you when you prayed to him. He knows about all the money that you give to poor people. This makes God very happy, and now he is answering you. 5You must now send some men to Joppa. They will find a man who is staying there. He is called Simon Peter. Your men must tell him to come here to Caesarea. 6He is staying at the house of Simon the tanner. His house is near the sea.’
7Then the angel that spoke to Cornelius went away. Cornelius told two of his servants and a soldier of his group to come to him. The soldier was one of those who worked with Cornelius. He was a good man who obeyed God. 8Cornelius explained to these three men what the angel had said to him. Then he sent them to Joppa. #10:8 Joppa was about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Caesarea.
9The next day, at about noon, Cornelius's men were coming near to Joppa. At this time, Peter went up on the roof of the house to pray to God. #10:9 In those days, in Israel, all the houses had flat roofs. People sat up there after they had finished working. It was quiet there. 10He became hungry, and he wanted to eat some food. While someone was preparing a meal for him, Peter had a special dream. 11He saw heaven open above him. Then he saw something like a large piece of cloth. Somebody held it at each of its 4 corners and let it come down to the ground. 12Inside the cloth there were many different animals with 4 legs. There were also wild birds and snakes there inside the cloth. 13Then Peter heard a voice that said to him, ‘Peter, stand up and kill some of these animals. Then you can cook them and eat the meat.’
14Peter answered, ‘No, Lord, I would certainly not do that. I have never eaten an animal that our Law says is dirty.’ #10:14 We can read about these laws in Leviticus chapter 11. The animals on the cloth were only ones that the Law would not let a Jew eat.
15Then, for the second time, the voice said to Peter, ‘God has made these animals good for people to eat. So, you must not say that it is not right to eat them.’
16All this happened three times. After that, the cloth immediately went back up into heaven.
17Just then, Cornelius' men arrived there in Joppa. They found Simon's house. When they stopped at the gate of the house, Peter was still thinking about his dream and what it meant. 18The men shouted out, ‘Is a man called Simon Peter staying here?’
19While Peter was still thinking about his dream, the Holy Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men have arrived and they are looking for you. 20Get up and go downstairs to meet them. I have sent these men to come to you. So, you should go with them. Don't be afraid.’
21Peter went downstairs and he said to the men, ‘I am the person that you are looking for. Why have you come here?’
22The men answered him, ‘The Roman officer who is called Cornelius has sent us to you. He is a good man and he obeys God's Law. All the Jewish people respect him. An angel from God told him to send us to you with a message. Then we should bring you to Cornelius' house so that he could hear what you have to say.’ 23Then Peter said to the men, ‘Please come into the house and stay here with us tonight.’
Peter goes to Cornelius's house
The next day, Peter left Joppa to go to Caesarea with Cornelius's men. Some believers who lived in Joppa travelled with them. 24The next day, Peter arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was ready to meet Peter and the other men. He told his family and his special friends to come to his house. They were all waiting to meet Peter. 25When Peter arrived at the house, Cornelius went out to meet him. He went down on his knees in front of Peter to worship him. 26But Peter lifted Cornelius up from the ground and he said to him, ‘Stand up. I am only a man, like you are.’
27Peter continued to talk to Cornelius and they went into the house. Peter saw that many people had come together there in the house. 28He said to them, ‘You all know that we Jews do not become friends with Gentiles. Our Jewish laws do not let us visit the homes of Gentiles. But God has now shown me something different. I should not say about anyone that God will not accept them. #10:28 Peter now understood more about his own dream. He knew that God was teaching him something. The dream was a message from God about all people. All people can be believers. People can be either Jews or Gentiles. God will accept everyone. 29So when you asked me to come here, I was happy to come. I knew that it was right. So, tell me now. Why did you ask me to come?’
30Then Cornelius said, ‘Three days ago, I was in my house at this time of the day. It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and I was praying to God. Suddenly, a man appeared and he stood in front of me. He was wearing bright clothes that shone. 31The man said to me, “Cornelius, you have prayed to God and you have often given money to poor people. Now God wants to answer you. 32So send some men to Joppa to fetch a man who is called Simon Peter. He is staying there at the house of Simon the tanner. His house is near the sea.” 33So, I sent some men immediately to bring you here. Thank you that you agreed to come. Now we are all here together, and God is with us. We are ready to listen to your message. Please tell us everything that the Lord God has told you to say.’
Peter speaks to Cornelius and to his family and friends
34Then Peter said to them, ‘Now I understand that God accepts all people in the same way. God has shown me that this is true. 35God accepts all people who worship him and who do the right things. It is not important to God which group a person belongs to. He accepts them all. 36This is the message that God has sent to the people of Israel. He told us the good news about Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of all people. Because of Jesus, we can now come close to God again. 37You know about the important things that have happened everywhere in Judea. These things began in Galilee after John spoke God's message to the people. He baptised those people who believed in God. 38You know that God chose Jesus to do special work for him. He gave Jesus his Holy Spirit and helped him to do powerful things. Jesus came from the town called Nazareth. He travelled to many places and he did good things. The Devil had power over some people. But Jesus caused all those people to become well again. He could do those powerful things because God was with him.
39We saw everything that Jesus did in Jerusalem and in all the country of the Jewish people. The leaders in Jerusalem fixed Jesus to a cross and they killed him. 40But then, three days after that, God caused Jesus to become alive again. God caused him to appear to us. 41Not all the people saw him. God chose us to be Jesus' apostles and we saw him. Now we are telling people about all these things. We ate and we drank with Jesus after he became alive again. 42At that time, Jesus said to us, “Go and tell people the message about me. Tell them that God has given me authority to judge all people. I will judge those who are now alive. And I will judge those who have died.” ’ 43Then Peter said, ‘All of God's prophets spoke about Jesus as God's Messiah. They said that God would forgive everyone who believes in him. He would forgive them for their sins because of what Jesus, the Messiah, would do.’
Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit
44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all the people who were listening to his message. 45The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were very surprised. They saw that God had now given his Holy Spirit to people who were not Jews. 46They heard the new believers speaking in strange languages. They were also praising God.
Then Peter said, 47‘God has clearly given his Holy Spirit to these people, in the same way that he gave him to us. So we should now baptise them with water. You surely agree that this is the right thing to do.’ 48So Peter told the Jewish believers to baptise the new believers. They spoke the name of Jesus Christ when they baptised them. After that, Cornelius asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.