101There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman regiment called “The Italian Regiment”. 2He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshipped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God. 3It was about three o'clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius!”
4He stared at the angel in fear and said, “What is it, sir?”
The angel answered, “God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you. 5And now send some men to Joppa for a certain man whose full name is Simon Peter. 6He is a guest in the home of a tanner of leather named Simon, who lives by the sea.” 7Then the angel went away, and Cornelius called two of his house servants and a soldier, a religious man who was one of his personal attendants. 8He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
9The next day, as they were on their way and coming near Joppa, Peter went up on the roof of the house about noon in order to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. 11He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 12In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 13A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!”
14But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled.”
15The voice spoke to him again, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.” 16This happened three times, and then the thing was taken back up into heaven.
17While Peter was wondering about the meaning of this vision, the men sent by Cornelius had learnt where Simon's house was, and they were now standing in front of the gate. 18They called out and asked, “Is there a guest here by the name of Simon Peter?”
19Peter was still trying to understand what the vision meant, when the Spirit said, “Listen! Three10.19 Three; some manuscripts have Some; one manuscript has Two. men are here looking for you. 20So get ready and go down, and do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” 21So Peter went down and said to the men, “I am the man you are looking for. Why have you come?”
22“Captain Cornelius sent us,” they answered. “He is a good man who worships God and is highly respected by all the Jewish people. An angel of God told him to invite you to his house, so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23Peter invited the men in and persuaded them to spend the night there.
The next day he got ready and went with them; and some of the believers from Joppa went along with him. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea, where Cornelius was waiting for him, together with relatives and close friends that he had invited. 25As Peter was about to go in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and bowed down before him. 26But Peter made him rise. “Stand up,” he said; “I myself am only a man.” 27Peter kept on talking to Cornelius as he went into the house, where he found many people gathered. 28He said to them, “You yourselves know very well that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled. 29And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?”
30Cornelius said, “It was about this time three days ago that I was praying10.30 praying; some manuscripts have fasting and praying. in my house at three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a man dressed in shining clothes stood in front of me 31and said: ‘Cornelius! God has heard your prayer and has taken notice of your works of charity. 32Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner of leather, who lives by the sea.’ 33And so I sent for you at once, and you have been good enough to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God, waiting to hear anything that the Lord has instructed you to say.”
Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. 35Those who worship him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the Good News of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know of the great event that took place throughout the land of Israel, beginning in Galilee after John preached his message of baptism. 38You know about Jesus of Nazareth and how God poured out on him the Holy Spirit and power. He went everywhere, doing good and healing all who were under the power of the Devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses of everything that he did in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem. Then they put him to death by nailing him to a cross. 40But God raised him from death three days later and caused him to appear, 41not to everyone, but only to the witnesses that God had already chosen, that is, to us who ate and drank with him after he rose from death. 42And he commanded us to preach the gospel to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God has appointed judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets spoke about him, saying that all who believe in him will have their sins forgiven through the power of his name.”
44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his message. 45The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles also. 46For they heard them speaking in strange tongues and praising God's greatness. Peter spoke up: 47“These people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did. Can anyone, then, stop them from being baptized with water?” 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay with them for a few days.
111The apostles and the other believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2When Peter went to Jerusalem, those who were in favour of circumcising Gentiles criticized him, saying, 3“You were a guest in the home of uncircumcised Gentiles, and you even ate with them!” 4So Peter gave them a complete account of what had happened from the very beginning:
5“While I was praying in the city of Joppa, I had a vision. I saw something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it stopped next to me. 6I looked closely inside and saw domesticated and wild animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat!’ 8But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord! No ritually unclean or defiled food has ever entered my mouth.’ 9The voice spoke again from heaven, ‘Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.’ 10This happened three times, and finally the whole thing was drawn back up into heaven. 11At that very moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was11.11 I was; some manuscripts have we were. staying. 12The Spirit told me to go with them without hesitation. These six fellow-believers from Joppa accompanied me to Caesarea, and we all went into the house of Cornelius. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. 14He will speak words to you by which you and all your family will be saved.’ 15And when I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them just as on us at the beginning. 16
Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17It is clear that God gave those Gentiles the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; who was I, then, to try to stop God!”
18When they heard this, they stopped their criticism and praised God, saying, “Then God has given to the Gentiles also the opportunity to repent and live!”
Some of the believers who were scattered by the persecution which took place when Stephen was killed went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, telling the message to Jews only. 20But other believers, who were from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and proclaimed the message to Gentiles11.20 Gentiles; some manuscripts have Greek-speaking Jews or Greek-speaking people. also, telling them the Good News about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord's power was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22The news about this reached the church in Jerusalem, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw how God had blessed the people, he was glad and urged them all to be faithful and true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord.
25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26When he found him, he took him to Antioch, and for a whole year the two met with the people of the church and taught a large group. It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.
27About that time some prophets went from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28
One of them, named Agabus, stood up and by the power of the Spirit predicted that a severe famine was about to come over all the earth. (It came when Claudius was emperor.) 29The disciples decided that they would each send as much as they could to help their fellow-believers who lived in Judea. 30They did this, then, and sent the money to the church elders by Barnabas and Saul.
121About this time King Herod12.1 King Herod: Herod Agrippa I, ruler of all Palestine. began to persecute some members of the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. 3When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went on to arrest Peter. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4
After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover. 5So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him.
6The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At once the chains fell off Peter's hands. 8Then the angel said, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” Peter did so, and the angel said, “Put your cloak round you and come with me.” 9Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed by the first guard post and then the second, and came at last to the iron gate leading into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter.
11Then Peter realized what had happened to him, and said, “Now I know that it is really true! The Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod's power and from everything the Jewish people expected to happen.”
12Aware of his situation, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13Peter knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer it. 14She recognized Peter's voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15“You are mad!” they told her. But she insisted that it was true. So they answered, “It is his angel.”
16Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking. At last they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were amazed. 17He motioned with his hand for them to be quiet, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell this to James and the rest of the believers,” he said; then he left and went somewhere else.
18When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards — what had happened to Peter? 19Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them to be put to death.
After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea.
20Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king's country.
21On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22“It isn't a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. 23At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honour to God. He was eaten by worms and died.
24Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow.
25Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from12.25 from; some manuscripts have to. Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.