There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman army regiment called "The Italian Regiment."
He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshiped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God.
It 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!"
He 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.
And now send some men to Joppa for a certain man whose full name is Simon Peter.
He is a guest in the home of a tanner of leather named Simon, who lives by the sea."
Then 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.
He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
The 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.
He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision.
He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth.
In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds.
A voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat!"
But Peter said, "Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled."
The voice spoke to him again, "Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean."
This happened three times, and then the thing was taken back up into heaven.
While Peter was wondering about the meaning of this vision, the men sent by Cornelius had learned where Simon's house was, and they were now standing in front of the gate.
They called out and asked, "Is there a guest here by the name of Simon Peter?"
Peter was still trying to understand what the vision meant, when the Spirit said, "Listen! Three men are here looking for you.
So get ready and go down, and do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."
So Peter went down and said to the men, "I am the man you are looking for. Why have you come?"
"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."
Peter invited the men in and had them 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.