Now the Apostles, and the brethren in various parts of Judaea, heard that the Gentiles also had received God's Message;
and, when Peter returned to Jerusalem, the champions of circumcision found fault with him.
"You went into the houses of men who are not Jews," they said, "and you ate with them."
Peter, however, explained the whole matter to them from the beginning.
"While I was in the town of Jaffa, offering prayer," he said, "in a trance I saw a vision. There descended what seemed to be an enormous sail, being let down from the sky by ropes at the four corners, and it came close to me.
Fixing my eyes on it, I examined it closely, and saw various kinds of quadrupeds, wild beasts, reptiles and birds.
I also heard a voice saying to me, "`Rise, Peter, kill and eat.'
"`On no account, Lord,' I replied, `for nothing unholy or impure has ever gone into my mouth.'
"But a voice answered, speaking a second time from the sky, "`What God has purified, you must not regard as unholy.'
"This was said three times, and then everything was drawn up again out of sight.
"Now at that very moment three men came to the house where we were, having been sent from Caesarea to find me.
And the Spirit told me to accompany them without any misgivings. There also went with me these six brethren who are now present, and we reached the Centurion's house.
Then he described to us how he had seen the angel come and enter his house and say, "`Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon, surnamed Peter.
He will teach you truths by which you and all your family will be saved.'"
"And," said Peter, "no sooner had I begun to speak than the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He fell upon us at the first.
Then I remembered the Lord's words, how He used to say, "`John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit.'
"If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we first believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, why, who was I to be able to thwart God?"
This statement of Peter's silenced his opponents. They extolled the goodness of God, and said, "So, then, to the Gentiles also God has given the repentance which leads to Life."
Those, however, who had been driven in various directions by the persecution which broke out on account of Stephen made their way to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, delivering the Message to none but Jews.
But some of them were Cyprians and Cyrenaeans, who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Greeks also and told them the Good News concerning the Lord Jesus.
The power of the Lord was with them, and there were a vast number who believed and turned to the Lord.
When tidings of this reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, they sent Barnabas as far as Antioch.
On getting there he was delighted to see the grace which God had bestowed; and he encouraged them all to remain, with fixed resolve, faithful to the Lord.
For he was a good man, and was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith; and the number of believers in the Lord greatly increased.
Then Barnabas paid a visit to Tarsus to try to find Saul.
He succeeded, and brought him to Antioch; and for a whole year they attended the meetings of the Church, and taught a large number of people. And it was in Antioch that the disciples first received the name of `Christians.'
At that time certain Prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch,
one of whom, named Agabus, being instructed by the Spirit, publicly predicted the speedy coming of a great famine throughout the world. (It came in the reign of Claudius.)
So the disciples decided to send relief, every one in proportion to his means, to the brethren living in Judaea.
This they did, forwarding their contributions to the Elders by Barnabas and Saul.