There was a man named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea, captain of the Italian Guard stationed there.
He was a thoroughly good man. He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer. One day about three o'clock in the afternoon he had a vision. An angel of God, as real as his next-door neighbor, came in and said, "Cornelius."
Cornelius stared hard, wondering if he was seeing things. Then he said, "What do you want, sir?"
Here's what you are to do. Send men to Joppa to get Simon, the one everyone calls Peter.
He is staying with Simon the Tanner, whose house is down by the sea."
As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two servants and one particularly devout soldier from the guard.
He went over with them in great detail everything that had just happened, and then sent them off to Joppa.
No sooner were these words out of Peter's mouth than the Holy Spirit came on the listeners.
The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn't believe it, couldn't believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on "outsider" Gentiles,
but there it was - they heard them speaking in tongues, heard them praising God.
"Do I hear any objections to baptizing these friends with water? They've received the Holy Spirit exactly as we did."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)