Cornelius asks Peter to come to him
1 There was a man who lived in Caesarea and his name was Cornelius. He was an officer in the Roman army. His group of soldiers was called ‘The Group from Italy’. 2 Cornelius was a good man. He and all his family served God faithfully. Cornelius prayed to God every day. He also gave money to help poor Jewish people.
10:2Cornelius was a not a Jew. But he believed in God and he obeyed the Law of Moses. His family and all his servants also obeyed God.
3 One afternoon, at about three o'clock, Cornelius had a vision. He clearly saw one of God's angels. The angel came in and said to him, ‘Cornelius!’
10:3Three o'clock in the afternoon was a time when the Jews prayed to God. Cornelius was praying when he saw the angel in his dream.
4 Cornelius looked at the angel and he was afraid. He asked, ‘Master, why have you come to me?’
The angel answered, ‘God has heard your prayers. He knows about all the money that you give to poor people. This has pleased him. Now God is answering your prayers. 5 You must 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. 6 He is staying at the house of Simon the tanner. His house is near the sea.’
10:6A ‘tanner’ is someone who works with animal skins to make leather.
7 Then the angel who 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 served Cornelius. He was a good man who obeyed God. 8 Cornelius explained to these three men what the angel had said to him. Then he sent them to Joppa.
10:8Joppa was about 50 kilometres from Caesarea.
9 The 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 He became hungry and he wanted to eat some food. While someone was preparing a meal for him, Peter had a special dream. 11 In a vision, he saw heaven open above him. Then he saw something like a large piece of cloth. Somebody held it at each of its four corners and let it come down to the ground. 12 Inside the cloth there were many different kinds of animals with four legs. There were also wild birds and snakes. 13 Then 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.’
10:9In those days, in Israel, all the houses had flat roofs. People sat up there after they had finished working. It was quiet there.
14 Peter answered, ‘No, Lord, I would certainly not do that. I have never eaten an animal that our Law says is unclean.’
10:14We can read about these laws in Leviticus 11. The animals inside the cloth included animals that these laws would not allow a Jew to eat.
15 Then, 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.’
16 All this happened three times. After that, the cloth immediately went back up into heaven.
17 Just then, Cornelius's 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. 18 The men shouted out, ‘Is a man called Simon Peter staying here?’
19 While Peter was still thinking about his dream, the Holy Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men have arrived and they are looking for you. 20 Get up and go downstairs to meet them. I have sent these men to come to you. So you should go with them. Do not be afraid.’
21 Peter went downstairs and he said to the men, ‘I am the person that you are looking for. Why have you come here?’
22 The 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's house so that he could hear what you have to say.’ 23 Then Peter said to the men, ‘Please come into the house and stay here with us tonight.’
Peter at 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. 24 The 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. 25 When Peter arrived at the house, Cornelius went out to meet him. He went down on his knees in front of Peter to worship him. 26 But Peter lifted Cornelius up from the ground and he said to him, ‘Stand up. I am only a man, like you are.’
27 Peter continued to talk to Cornelius and they went into the house. Peter saw that many people had come together there in the house. 28 He 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. 29 So 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?’
10:28Peter 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.
30 Then Cornelius said, ‘Three days ago, I was in my house at this time of the day. It was three 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. 31 The 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. 32 So 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.” 33 So 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
34 Then Peter said to them, ‘Now I understand that God accepts all people in the same way. God has shown me that this is true. 35 God accepts all people who worship him and who do the right things. It is not important to God which nation a person belongs to. 36 This 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 near to God again. 37 You 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 baptized those people who believed in God. 38 You 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 of 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.
39 We saw everything that Jesus did in Jerusalem and in all Judea. The leaders in Jerusalem fixed Jesus to a cross and they killed him. 40 But then, three days after that, God caused Jesus to become alive again. God caused him to appear to us. 41 Not 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. 42 At 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.” ’ 43 Then 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
44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all the people who were listening to his message. 45 The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were very surprised. They saw that God had now freely given his Holy Spirit to Gentiles. 46 They 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 baptize them with water. You surely agree that this is the right thing to do.’ 48 So Peter told the Jewish believers to baptize the new believers. They spoke the name of Jesus Christ when they baptized them. After that, Cornelius asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.