Acts 11; Acts 12

1 The apostles and the believers all through Judea heard that people who were not Jews had also received God's word. 2 Peter went up to Jerusalem. There the Jewish believers found fault with him. 3 They said, "You went into the house of those who aren't Jews. You ate with them." 4 Peter explained everything to them. He told them exactly what had happened. 5 "I was in the city of Joppa praying," he said. "There I had a vision. I saw something that looked like a large sheet. It was being let down from heaven by its four corners. It came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth. There were also wild animals, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice speaking to me. 'Get up, Peter,' the voice said. 'Kill and eat.' 8 "I replied, 'No, Lord! I will not! Nothing that is not pure and "clean" has ever entered my mouth.' 9 "A second time the voice spoke from heaven. 'Do not say anything is not pure that God has made "clean," ' the voice said. 10 This happened three times. Then the sheet was pulled up into heaven. 11 "Just then three men stopped at the house where I was staying. They had been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 The Holy Spirit told me not to let anything keep me from going with them. These six brothers here went with me. We entered the man's house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house. The angel said, 'Send to Joppa for Simon Peter. 14 He has a message to bring to you. You and your whole family will be saved through it.' 15 "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them. He came just as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the Lord's words. 'John baptized with water,' he had said. 'But you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 God gave them the same gift he gave those of us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So who was I to think that I could oppose God?" 18 When they heard this, they didn't object anymore. They praised God. They said, "So then, God has allowed even those who aren't Jews to turn away from their sins and live." 19 Some believers had been scattered by the suffering that came to them after Stephen's death. They traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. But they told the message only to Jews. 20 Some believers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch. There they began to speak to Greeks also. They told them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord's power was with them. Large numbers of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 The church in Jerusalem heard about this. So they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad. He told them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 Barnabas was a good man. He was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. Large numbers of people came to know the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 He found him there. Then he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church. They taught large numbers of people. At Antioch the believers were called Christians for the first time. 27 In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them was named Agabus. He stood up and spoke through the Spirit. He said there would not be nearly enough food anywhere in the Roman world. This happened while Claudius was the emperor. 29 The believers decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. All of them helped as much as they could. 30 They sent their gift to the elders through Barnabas and Saul.
1 About this time, King Herod arrested some people who belonged to the church. He planned to make them suffer greatly. 2 He had James killed with a sword. James was John's brother. 3 Herod saw that the death of James pleased the Jews. So he arrested Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After Herod arrested Peter, he put him in prison. Peter was placed under guard. He was watched by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put Peter on public trial. It would take place after the Passover Feast. 5 So Peter was kept in prison. But the church prayed hard to God for him. 6 It was the night before Herod was going to bring him to trial. Peter was sleeping between two soldiers. Two chains held him there. Lookouts stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared. A light shone in the prison cell. The angel struck Peter on his side. Peter woke up. "Quick!" the angel said. "Get up!" The chains fell off Peter's wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." Peter did so. "Put on your coat," the angel told him. "Follow me." 9 Peter followed him out of the prison. But he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening. He thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards. Then they came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. They went through it. They walked the length of one street. Suddenly the angel left Peter. 11 Then Peter realized what had happened. He said, "Now I know for sure that the Lord sent his angel. He set me free from Herod's power. He saved me from everything the Jewish people were hoping for." 12 When Peter understood what had happened, he went to Mary's house. Mary was the mother of John Mark. Many people had gathered in her home. They were praying there. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance. A servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 She recognized Peter's voice. She was so excited that she ran back without opening the door. "Peter is at the door!" she exclaimed. 15 "You're out of your mind," they said to her. But she kept telling them it was true. So they said, "It must be his angel." 16 Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet. He explained how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the others about this," he said. Then he went to another place. 18 In the morning the soldiers were bewildered. They couldn't figure out what had happened to Peter. 19 So Herod had them look everywhere for Peter. But they didn't find him. Then Herod questioned the guards closely. He ordered that they be put to death. Herod went from Judea to Caesarea. He stayed there awhile. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they got together and asked for a meeting with him. This was because they depended on the king's country to supply them with food. They gained the support of Blastus and asked for peace. Blastus was a trusted personal servant of the king. 21 The appointed day came. Herod was seated on his throne. He was wearing his royal robes. He made a speech to the people. 22 Then they shouted, "This is the voice of a god. It's not the voice of a man." 23 Right away an angel of the Lord struck Herod down. Herod had not given praise to God. So he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But God's word continued to increase and spread. 25 Barnabas and Saul finished their task. Then they returned from Jerusalem. They took John Mark with them.
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