Acts 10:1-23

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.