The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God's word.
When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him.
They accused him, "You went into the home of the uncircumcised and ate with them!"
Step-by-step, Peter explained what had happened.
"I was in the city of Joppa praying when I had a visionary experience. In my vision, I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners. It came all the way down to me.
As I stared at it, wondering what it was, I saw four-legged animals—including wild beasts—as well as reptiles and wild birds.a7
I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!'
I responded, ‘Absolutely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
The voice from heaven spoke a second time, ‘Never consider unclean what God has made pure.'
This happened three times, then everything was pulled back into heaven.
At that moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying.
The Spirit told me to go with them even though they were Gentiles. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered that man's house.
He reported to us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter.
He will tell you how you and your entire household can be saved.'
When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as the Spirit fell on us in the beginning.
I remembered the Lord's words: ‘John will baptize with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
If God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who am I? Could I stand in God's way?"
Once the apostles and other believers heard this, they calmed down. They praised God and concluded, "So then God has enabled Gentiles to change their hearts and lives so that they might have new life."
Now those who were scattered as a result of the trouble that occurred because of Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. They proclaimed the word only to Jews.
Among them were some people from Cyprus and Cyrene. They entered Antioch and began to proclaim the good news about the Lord Jesus also to Jews who spoke Greek.
The Lord's power was with them, and a large number came to believe and turned to the Lord.
When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw evidence of God's grace, he was overjoyed and encouraged everyone to remain fully committed to the Lord.
Barnabas responded in this way because he was a good man, whom the Holy Spirit had endowed with exceptional faith. A considerable number of people were added to the Lord.
Barnabas went to Tarsus in search of Saul.
When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They were there for a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching large numbers of people. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first labeled "Christians."
About that time, some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
One of them, Agabus, stood up and, inspired by the Spirit, predicted that a severe famine would overtake the entire Roman world. (This occurred during Claudius' rule.)
The disciples decided they would send support to the brothers and sisters in Judea, with everyone contributing to this ministry according to each person's abundance.
They sent Barnabas and Saul to take this gift to the elders.