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1THERE was a man in Caesarea by the name of Cornelius, a centurion in what was called the Italian regiment.

2He was a deeply religious man who reverenced God, as did all his household. He made many charitable gifts to the people and was a man of regular prayer.

3About three o'clock one afternoon he saw perfectly clearly in a vision an angel of God coming into his room, approaching him, and saying, "Cornelius!"

4He stared at the angel in terror, and said, "What is it, Lord?" The angel replied, "Your prayers and your deeds of charity have gone up to Heaven and are remembered before God.

5Now send men to Joppa for a man called Simon, who is also known as Peter.

6He is staying as a guest with another Simon, a tanner, whose house is down by the sea."

7When the angel who had spoken to him had gone, Cornelius called out for two of his homeservants and a devout soldier, who was one of his personal attendants.

8He told them the whole story and then sent them off to Joppa.

9Next day, while these men were still on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up about midday on to the flat roof of the house to pray.

10He became very hungry and longed for something to eat. But while the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance

11and saw the heavens open and something like a great sheet descending upon the earth, let down by its four corners.

12In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds.

13Then, came a voice which said to him, "Get up, Peter, kill and eat!"

14But Peter said, "Never, Lord! For not once in all my life have I ever anything common or unclean."

15Then the voice spoke to him a second time, "You must not call what God has cleansed common."

16This happened three times, and then the thing was gone, taken back into heaven.

17While Peter was still puzzling about the meaning of the vision which he had just seen, the men sent by Cornelius had arrived asking for the home of Simon. They were in fact standing at the very doorway

18calling out to enquire if Simon, surnamed Peter, were lodging there.

19Peter was still thinking deeply about the vision when the Spirit said to him, "There are some men here looking for you.

20Get up and go downstairs. Go with them without any misgiving, for I myself have sent them."

21So Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the man you are looking for; what brings you here?"

22They replied, "Cornelius the centurion, a goodliving and Godfearing man, whose character can be vouched for by the whole Jewish people, was commanded by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house, and to listen to your message."

23Then Peter invited them in and entertained them. On the next day he got up and set out with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa,

24arriving at Caesarea on the day after that. Cornelius was expecting them and had invited together his relations and intimate friends.

25As Peter entered the house Cornelius met him by falling at his feet and worshipping him.

26But Peter raised him with the words, "Stand up, I am a human being too!"

27Then Peter went right into the house in deep conversation with Cornelius and found that a large number of people had assembled.

28Then he spoke to them, "You all know that it is forbidden for a man who is a Jew to associate with, or even visit, a man of another nation. But God has shown me plainly that no man must be called "common" or 'unclean'.

29That is why I came here when I was sent for without raising any objection. Now I want to know what made you send for me."

30Then Cornelius replied, "Four days ago, about this time, I was observing the afternoon hour of prayer in my house, when suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me

31and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your charitable deeds have been remembered before God.

32Now you must send to Joppa and invite here a man called Simon whose surname is Peter. He is staying in the house of a tanner by the name of Simon, down by the sea.'

33So I sent to you without delay and you have been most kind in coming. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything that the Lord has commanded you to say."

34Then Peter began to speak, "In solemn truth I can see now that God does not discriminate between people,

35but that in every nation the man who reverences him and does what is right is acceptable to him!

36He has sent his message to the sons of Israel by giving us the good news of peace through Jesus Christhe is Lord of all.

37You must know the story of Jesus of Nazarethwhy, it has spread through the whole of Judaea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed.

38You must have heard how God anointed him with the power of the Holy Spirit, of how he went about doing good and healing all who suffered under the devil's powerbecause God was with him.

39Now we are eyewitnesses of everything that he did, both in the Judaean country and in Jerusalem itself, and they murdered him by hanging him on a cross.

40But on the third day God raised that same Jesus and let him be clearly seen,

41not indeed by the whole people, but by witnesses whom God had previously chosen. We are those witnesses, we who ate and drank with him after he had risen from the dead!

42Moreover, we are the men whom he commanded to preach to the people and solemnly witness to the fact that he is the one appointed by God to be the judge of both the living and the dead.

43It is to him that all the prophets bear witness, so that every man who believes in him may receive forgiveness of sins through his name."

44While Peter was still speaking these words the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to his message.

45The Jewish believers who had come with Peter were absolutely amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit was being poured out even upon gentiles;

46for they heard them speaking in foreign tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter exclaimed,

47"Could anyone refuse water or object to these men being baptizedmen who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did ourselves?"

48And he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterwards they asked him to stay with them for some days.

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