At Caesarea1 there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.
He and all his family were devout and God-fearing;2 he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
One day at about three in the afternoon3 he had a vision.4 He distinctly saw an angel5 of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"
Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering6 before God.75
Now send men to Joppa8 to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
He is staying with Simon the tanner,9 whose house is by the sea."
When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.
He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.10
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof11 to pray.
He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.1211
He saw heaven opened13 and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.
Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."14
"Surely not, Lord!"14 Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."1515
The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."1616
This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision,17 the men sent by Cornelius18 found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate.
They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
While Peter was still thinking about the vision,19 the Spirit said20 to him, "Simon, threea men are looking for you.
So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."2121
Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"
The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man,22 who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say."23
Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers24 from Joppa went along.2524
The following day he arrived in Caesarea.26 Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.
But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."2727
Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.2828
He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him.29 But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.3029
So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"
Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes31 stood before me
and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.
Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.'
So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism3235
but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.33