January 27 - Acts 10.1-33

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Peter and Cornelius

Acts 10 In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, who was the captain of a group of soldiers called "The Italian Unit." 2Cornelius was a very religious man. He worshiped God, and so did everyone else who lived in his house. He had given a lot of money to the poor and was always praying to God.
3One afternoon at about three o'clock, Cornelius had a vision. He saw an angel from God coming to him and calling him by name. 4Cornelius was surprised and stared at the angel. Then he asked, "What is this all about?"
The angel answered, "God has heard your prayers and knows about your gifts to the poor. 5Now send some men to Joppa for a man named Simon Peter. 6He is visiting with Simon the leather maker, who lives in a house near the sea." 7After saying this, the angel left.
Cornelius called in two of his servants and one of his soldiers who worshiped God. 8He explained everything to them and sent them off to Joppa.
9The next day about noon these men were coming near Joppa. Peter went up on the roof of the house to pray 10and became very hungry. While the food was being prepared, he fell sound asleep and had a vision. 11He saw heaven open, and something came down like a huge sheet held up by its four corners. 12In it were all kinds of animals, snakes, and birds. 13A voice said to him, "Peter, get up! Kill these and eat them."
14But Peter said, "Lord, I can't do that! I've never eaten anything that is unclean and not fit to eat."
15The voice spoke to him again, "When God says that something can be used for food, don't say it isn't fit to eat."
16This happened three times before the sheet was suddenly taken back to heaven.
17Peter was still wondering what all of this meant, when the men sent by Cornelius came and stood at the gate. They had found their way to Simon's house 18and were asking if Simon Peter was staying there.
19While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, "Three men are here looking for you. 20Hurry down and go with them. Don't worry, I sent them."
21Peter went down and said to the men, "I am the one you are looking for. Why have you come?"
22They answered, "Captain Cornelius sent us. He is a good man who worships God and is liked by the Jewish people. One of God's holy angels told Cornelius to send for you, so he could hear what you have to say." 23Peter invited them to spend the night.
The next morning, Peter and some of the Lord's followers in Joppa left with the men who had come from Cornelius. 24The next day they arrived in Caesarea where Cornelius was waiting for them. He had also invited his relatives and close friends.
25When Peter arrived, Cornelius greeted him. Then he knelt at Peter's feet and started worshiping him. 26But Peter took hold of him and said, "Stand up! I am nothing more than a human."
27As Peter entered the house, he was still talking with Cornelius. Many people were there, 28and Peter said to them, "You know that we Jews are not allowed to have anything to do with other people. But God has shown me that he doesn't think anyone is unclean or unfit. 29I agreed to come here, but I want to know why you sent for me."
30Cornelius answered:
Four days ago at about three o'clock in the afternoon I was praying at home. Suddenly a man in bright clothes stood in front of me. 31He said, "Cornelius, God has heard your prayers, and he knows about your gifts to the poor. 32Now send to Joppa for Simon Peter. He is visiting in the home of Simon the leather maker, who lives near the sea."
33I sent for you right away, and you have been good enough to come. All of us are here in the presence of the Lord God, so that we can hear what he has to say.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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