Peter and Cornelius
1In the city of Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a Roman army officer in what was called the Italian Unit. 2He was a religious man. He and all the others who lived in his house were worshipers of the true God. He gave much of his money to help the poor people and always prayed to God. 3One afternoon about three o’clock, Cornelius had a vision. He clearly saw an angel from God coming to him and saying, “Cornelius!”
4Staring at the angel and feeling afraid, Cornelius said, “What do you want, sir?”
The angel said to him, “God has heard your prayers and has seen your gifts to the poor. He remembers you and all you have done. 5Send some men now to the city of Joppa to get a man named Simon, who is also called Peter. 6He is staying with someone also named Simon, a leatherworker who has a house beside the sea.” 7The angel who spoke to Cornelius left. Then Cornelius called two of his servants and a soldier. The soldier was a religious man, one of his close helpers. 8Cornelius explained everything to these three men and sent them to Joppa.
9The next day they were coming near Joppa about noon, when Peter was going up to the roof to pray. 10He was hungry and wanted to eat. But while they were preparing the food for Peter to eat, he had a vision. 11He saw something coming down through the open sky. It looked like a big sheet being lowered to the ground by its four corners. 12In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. 13Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill anything here and eat it.”
14But Peter said, “I can’t do that, Lord! I have never eaten anything that is not pure or fit to be used for food.”
15But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things pure. Don’t say they are unfit to eat.” 16This happened three times. Then the whole thing was taken back up into heaven. 17Peter wondered what this vision meant.
The men Cornelius sent had found Simon’s house. They were standing at the door. 18They asked, “Is Simon Peter staying here?”
19While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Listen, three men are looking for you. 20Get up and go downstairs. Go with these men without wondering if it’s all right, because I sent them.” 21So Peter went downstairs and said to them, “I think I’m the man you are looking for. Why did you come here?”
22The men said, “A holy angel told Cornelius to invite you to his house. He is an army officer. He is a good man, one who worships God, and all the Jewish people respect him. The angel told him to invite you to his house so that he can listen to what you have to say.” 23Peter asked the men to come in and stay for the night.
The next day Peter got ready and went away with the three men. Some of the believers from Joppa went with him. 24The next day they came to the city of Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them and had already gathered his relatives and close friends at his house.
25When Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him. He fell down at Peter’s feet and worshiped him. 26But Peter told him to get up. Peter said, “Stand up! I am only a man like you.” 27Peter continued talking with Cornelius. Then Peter went inside and saw a large group of people gathered there.
28Peter said to the people, “You understand that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit anyone who is not a Jew. But God has shown me that I should not consider anyone unfit or say they are not pure. 29That’s why I didn’t argue when your men asked me to come here. Now, please tell me why you sent for me.”
30Cornelius said, “Four days ago, I was praying in my house. It was at this same time—three o’clock in the afternoon. Suddenly there was someone standing before me wearing bright, shiny clothes. 31He said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and has seen your gifts to the poor. He remembers you and all you have done. 32So send some men to the city of Joppa and tell Simon Peter to come. He is staying with another man named Simon, a leatherworker who has a house beside the sea.’ 33So I sent for you immediately. It was very good of you to come here. Now we are all here before God to hear everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
Peter Speaks in the House of Cornelius
34Peter began to speak: “I really understand now that God does not consider some people to be better than others. 35He accepts anyone who worships him and does what is right. It is not important what nation they come from. 36God has spoken to the people of Israel. He sent them the Good News that peace has come through Jesus Christ, the Lord of all people.
37“You know what has happened all over Judea. It began in Galilee after John told the people they needed to be baptized. 38You know about Jesus from Nazareth. God made him the Messiah by giving him the Holy Spirit and power. Jesus went everywhere doing good for people. He healed those who were ruled by the devil, showing that God was with him.
39“We saw all that Jesus did in Judea and in Jerusalem. But he was killed. They put him on a cross made of wood. 40But on the third day after his death, God raised him to life and let him be seen openly. 41He was not seen by everyone, but only by us, the ones God had already chosen to be witnesses. We ate and drank with him after he was raised from death.
42“Jesus told us to go and speak to the people. He told us to tell them that he is the one God chose to be the Judge of all who are living and all who have died. 43Everyone who believes in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name. All the prophets agree that this is true.”
God Shows That He Accepts All People
44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his speech. 45The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit had been poured out as a gift also to people who were not Jews. 46They heard them speaking different languages and praising God. Then Peter said, 47“How can anyone object to these people being baptized in water? They have received the Holy Spirit the same as we did!” 48So Peter told them to baptize Cornelius and his relatives and friends in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.