1 Meanwhile, Saul continued to oppose the Lord's followers. He said they would be put to death. He went to the high priest. 2 He asked the priest for letters to the synagogues in Damascus. He wanted to find men and women who belonged to the Way of Jesus. The letters would allow him to take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 On his journey, Saul approached Damascus. Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground. He heard a voice speak to him. "Saul! Saul!" the voice said. "Why are you opposing me?" 5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus," he replied. "I am the one you are opposing. 6 Now get up and go into the city. There you will be told what you must do." 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there. They weren't able to speak. They had heard the sound. But they didn't see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground. He opened his eyes, but he couldn't see. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind. He didn't eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a believer named Ananias. The Lord called out to him in a vision. "Ananias!" he said. "Yes, Lord," he answered. 11 The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. Ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias. The man has come and placed his hands on him. Now he will be able to see again." 13 "Lord," Ananias answered, "I've heard many reports about this man. They say he has done great harm to God's people in Jerusalem. 14 Now he has come here to arrest all those who worship you. The chief priests have given him authority to do this." 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! I have chosen this man to work for me. He will carry my name to those who aren't Jews and to their kings. He will bring my name to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for me." 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. He placed his hands on Saul. "Brother Saul," he said, "you saw the Lord Jesus. He appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He has sent me so that you will be able to see again. You will be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Right away something like scales fell from Saul's eyes. And he could see again. He got up and was baptized. 19 After eating some food, he got his strength back. Saul spent several days with the believers in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues. He taught that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All who heard him were amazed. They asked, "Isn't he the man who caused great trouble in Jerusalem for those who worship Jesus? Hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" 22 But Saul grew more and more powerful. The Jews living in Damascus couldn't believe what was happening. Saul proved to them that Jesus is the Christ. 23 After many days, the Jews had a meeting. They planned to kill Saul. 24 But he learned about their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates closely in order to kill him. 25 But his followers helped him escape by night. They lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 26 When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the believers. But they were all afraid of him. They didn't believe he was really one of Jesus' followers. 27 But Barnabas took him to the apostles. He told them about Saul's journey. He said that Saul had seen the Lord. He told how the Lord had spoken to Saul. Barnabas also said that Saul had preached without fear in Jesus' name in Damascus. 28 So Saul stayed with the believers. He moved about freely in Jerusalem. He spoke boldly in the Lord's name. 29 He talked and argued with Jews who followed Greek practices. But they tried to kill him. 30 The other believers heard about this. They took Saul down to Caesarea. From there they sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. The Holy Spirit gave the church strength and boldness. So they grew in numbers. And they worshiped the Lord. 32 As Peter traveled around the country, he went to visit God's people in Lydda. 33 There he found a disabled man named Aeneas. For eight years the man had spent most of his time in bed. 34 "Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up! Take care of your mat!" So Aeneas got up right away. 35 Everyone who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him. They turned to the Lord. 36 In Joppa there was a believer named Tabitha. Her name in the Greek language was Dorcas. She was always doing good and helping poor people. 37 About that time she became sick and died. Her body was washed and placed in a room upstairs. 38 Lydda was near Joppa. The believers heard that Peter was in Lydda. So they sent two men to him. They begged him, "Please come at once!" 39 Peter went with them. When he arrived, he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him crying. They showed him the robes and other clothes Dorcas had made while she was still alive. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room. Then he got down on his knees and prayed. He turned toward the dead woman. He said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes. When she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows. He brought her to them. They saw that she was alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa. Many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time. He stayed with Simon, a man who worked with leather.
1 A man named Cornelius lived in Caesarea. He was a Roman commander in the Italian Regiment. 2 Cornelius and all his family were faithful and worshiped God. He gave freely to people who were in need. He prayed to God regularly. 3 One day about three o'clock in the afternoon he had a vision. He saw an angel of God clearly. The angel came to him and said, "Cornelius!" 4 Cornelius was afraid. He stared at the angel. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to poor people have come up like an offering to God. So he has remembered you. 5 Now send men to Joppa. Have them bring back a man named Simon. He is also called Peter. 6 He is staying with another Simon, a man who works with leather. His house is by the sea." 7 The angel who spoke to him left. Then Cornelius called two of his servants. He also called a godly soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened. Then he sent them to Joppa. 9 It was about noon the next day. The men were on their journey and were approaching the city. Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry. He wanted something to eat. While the meal was being prepared, Peter had a vision. 11 He saw heaven open up. There he saw something that looked like a large sheet. It was being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It had all kinds of four-footed animals in it. It also had reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." 14 "No, Lord! I will not!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything that is not pure and 'clean.' " 15 The voice spoke to him a second time. "Do not say anything is not pure that God has made 'clean,' " it said. 16 This happened three times. Right away the sheet was taken back up to heaven. 17 Peter was wondering what the vision meant. At that very moment the men sent by Cornelius found Simon's house. They stopped at the gate 18 and called out. They asked if Simon Peter was staying there. 19 Peter was still thinking about the vision. The Holy Spirit spoke to him. "Simon," he said, "three men are looking for you. 20 Get up and go downstairs. Don't let anything keep you from going with them. I have sent them." 21 Peter went down and spoke to the men. "I'm the one you're looking for," he said. "Why have you come?" 22 The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius, the Roman commander. He is a good man who worships God. All the Jewish people respect him. A holy angel told him to invite you to his house. Cornelius wants to hear what you have to say." 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter went with the three men. Some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them. He had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him. As a sign of respect, he fell at Peter's feet. 26 But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said. "I am only a man myself." 27 Talking with Cornelius, Peter went inside. There he found a large group of people. 28 He said to them, "You know that it is against our law for a Jew to have anything to do with those who aren't Jews. But God has shown me that I should not say anyone is not pure and 'clean.' 29 So when you sent for me, I came without asking any questions. May I ask why you sent for me?" 30 Cornelius answered, "Four days ago at this very hour I was in my house praying. It was three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood in front of me. 31 He said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer. He has remembered your gifts to poor people. 32 Send someone to Joppa to get Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of another Simon, who works with leather. He lives by the sea.' 33 So I sent for you right away. It was good of you to come. Now we are all here. And God is here with us. We are ready to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us." 34 Then Peter began to speak. "I now realize how true it is that God treats everyone the same," he said. 35 "He accepts people from every nation. He accepts all who have respect for him and do what is right. 36 "You know the message God sent to the people of Israel. It is the good news of peace through Jesus Christ. He is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened all through Judea. It started in Galilee after John preached about baptism. 38 You know how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Jesus went around doing good. He healed all who were under the devil's power. God was with him. 39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by nailing him to a cross. 40 But on the third day God raised him from the dead. God allowed Jesus to be seen. 41 But he wasn't seen by all the people. He was seen only by us. We are witnesses whom God had already chosen. We ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 "He commanded us to preach to the people. He told us to give witness that he is the one appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets give witness about him. They say that all who believe in him have their sins forgiven through his name." 44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 Some Jewish believers had come with Peter. They were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on those who weren't Jews. 46 They heard them speaking in languages they had not known before. They also heard them praising God. Then Peter said, 47 "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.