Acts  ◦   Chapter 10

1At Caesarea, there lived a centurion named Cornelius, a member of the Italian Regiment.2He and his entire family loved God and lived in harmony with the law of love, giving generously to those in need. Cornelius opened his heart to God in conversation regularly.3One afternoon, about three o'clock, he had a vision: he saw with absolute clarity an angel of God who came right up to him and said, "Cornelius!"

4Cornelius was stunned and initially just stared at him, but finally said, "Yes sir, what can I do for you, sir?" The angel answered, "The outpouring of your heart, and your gifts to the needy have become a memorial of love before God.5Send men to Joppa to bring back the man Simon Peter.6He is staying at the home of Simon the tanner who lives on the coast."

7After the angel departed, Cornelius summoned two servants and a devoted soldier who was his aide-de-camp.8He told them everything that had happened and then sent them to Joppa.

9The next day around noon, as they were approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to talk with God.10He was hungry, and — smelling the aroma of the meal being cooked — was longing to eat. Just then, he had a vision11in which he saw the skies open, and an object-that appeared to be a large sheet-being lowered to the earth by its four corners.12It contained every known animal, reptile and bird.13A voice instructed him, "Peter, sacrifice any of these and eat."

14But Peter protested, "Lord, there must be some mistake! I have never sacrificed nor eaten anything impure or not on the approved script."

15The voice spoke to him again. "Don't reject as 'unapproved' or 'impure' what God has healed and made clean."

16This vision was repeated three times, and then the sheet disappeared into the sky.

17While Peter was contemplating the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius approached the gate to Simon's house and18called out, asking if Simon Peter was there.

19Peter was still trying to figure out the meaning of the vision when the Spirit of the Lord said to him, "Simon, there are three men here looking for you.20Go downstairs and go with them, for I have sent them to get you."

21So Peter went down and said to them, "I am Peter, the one you are looking for. What can I do for you?"22The men replied, "Cornelius the centurion sent us to find you. He is a man who loves God, and lives right. He helps all in need, and even the Jewish people speak well of him. An angel from God told him to invite you to his home to hear the message you have to share."23Then Peter invited them in and made them welcome, giving them a place to spend the night. The next day, Peter and some of the other members of the Lord's spiritual health-care team from Joppa started out with the men.

24They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius knew they were coming, and had called his entire family and close friends to join him.25When Peter entered his home, Cornelius knelt down in reverence before him.26But Peter immediately ordered him to get up, saying, "Stand up. I am only a man, born infected with sin and selfishness, just like everyone else, and in need of the same Remedy."

27As they greeted each other, they walked inside, where Peter discovered a large crowd of people waiting.28He said to them, "As you all know, religious rules forbid Jews from visiting or socializing with non-Jews. But God has revealed to me that such rules are not from him, and that no human being is to discriminate against, shun, or treat another as inferior.29So when I heard that you sent for me, I came eagerly. So tell me, how can I help you?"

30Cornelius answered, "Three days ago, just at this time (three o'clock in the afternoon) I was praying, when a man radiating light appeared out of nowhere and stood right in front of me.31He said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your request and knows you care for the poor.32Send men to Joppa for a man called Simon Peter. He is visiting at the home of Simon the tanner who lives on the coast.'33So I sent men for you right then, and I thank you for coming. Now, all of us have gathered here, in God's presence, to hear the truth the Lord has instructed you to deliver to us."

34Then Peter said, "I now understand the truth that God isn't prejudiced and doesn't play favorites,35but views humanity as a whole-every person as a member of the same race-and will heal all who trust him and partake of the Remedy.36You have heard that the Remedy from God was sent through Israel — it is the good news of healing and restoration through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.37You have heard the reports of what happened in Judea-beginning in Galilee after the call to repentance preached by John and symbolized by immersion in water-38how God empowered Jesus of Nazareth with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and how he went throughout the land giving of himself for the good of others. He healed everyone who was oppressed by the devil, because he was God's very thoughts made audible and visible.

39"We are eyewitnesses to it all: we saw everything he did in Israel and Jerusalem. They murdered him by nailing him to a cross,40but on the third day, in response to God's call, he arose from the dead and went about, where he was seen.41Not everyone saw him-only those of us chosen to be on his spiritual health-care team. We were the ones to eat and drink with him after he arose from the dead.42He gave us the duty of sharing the Remedy with the world and telling people that God appointed Jesus as the One who diagnoses the hearts of the living and the dead.43All God's spokespersons spoke of him, and described how every person who trusts him will be delivered from their terminal condition of fear and selfishness by having his character of love reproduced in them."

44While Peter was presenting these truths, the Holy Spirit filled the hearts and minds of all who embraced the message.45The circumcised members of the Lord's spiritual health-care team were surprised when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the uncircumcised Gentiles,46but they knew it was so because they heard the praises of the Gentile converts in their own language. Then Peter said,47"These people have already had their hearts and minds immersed in the Holy Spirit just as we did, so how could anyone object to them being immersed in water?"48So he instructed that they be immersed in water according to the accepted ritual, publicly declaring their unity with Jesus Christ. Then they invited Peter to stay with them for a few days.