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10 In Caesarea lived a man named Cornelius. He was a big captain in the army. His soldiers were called the Italian Group.

He was a good man. He and all the people of his house obeyed God. He gave many gifts to the poor. He always talked with God.

About three o'clock one afternoon, he clearly saw an angel from God coming to him in a vision. `Cornelius,' said the angel.

Cornelius looked at him. He was afraid and asked, `What is it, Sir?' The angel answered him, `God has heard what you said to him. He has remembered your gifts to the poor.

Send men to Joppa to call Simon, whose other name is Peter.

He is staying with Simon, the man who makes skins into leather. His house is by the sea. Peter will tell you what you should do.'

When the angel which spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his house servants. He also called one of the soldiers who believed in God and who always helped him.

He told them carefully all about his vision. Then he sent them to Joppa.

They went the next day. They were coming near to the city. About midday, Peter went up on the flat roof of the house to talk with God.

10 He became very hungry and wanted to eat. While food was being made ready, something like a dream came over him.

11 He saw the sky open. A bundle like a big blanket was tied by the corners. It was let down to earth.

12 In the bundle were all kinds of animals and snakes and birds.

13 Then Peter heard a voice saying to him, `Get up, Peter. Kill some and eat.'

14 But Peter said, `No, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is not holy or not clean.'

15 Then the voice spoke to him again, saying, `What God has made clean you must not call unholy.'

16 This happened three times. Then the thing was taken up right away into the sky.

17 `I have seen a strange thing,' Peter said to himself. `I wonder what it all means.' He was thinking about all this. And the men whom Cornelius sent had asked the way to Simon's house. Now they stood at the gate.

18 `Is this where Simon Peter is staying?' they called.

19 Peter was still thinking about what he had seen. Then the Spirit of God said to him, `Three men are looking for you.

20 Get up. Go down and go with them. Do not fear to go, because I have sent them.'

21 Then Peter went down to the men whom Cornelius had sent to him. He said, `Here I am. You are looking for me. Why have you come?'

22 They answered, `God sent a holy angel to Cornelius. He told him to call you to his house and hear what you have to say. Cornelius is a captain in the army. He is a good man. He does what is right and obeys God. All the Jews speak well of him.'

23 Peter said, `Come in.' He had them stay as his guests. The next day he and some of the Christian brothers from Joppa went with the men.

24 The day after that, they reached Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them. He had called his family and close friends together.

25 Peter was about to enter the house. Cornelius met him. He kneeled down at his feet and worshipped him.

26 But Peter raised him up and said, `Please stand up. I too am only a man.

27 Peter talked to him and went in with him. He saw many people who had come together.

28 He began to talk with them. He said, `You yourselves know it is against our law for a Jew to visit and be friends with someone who is not a Jew. But God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.

29 So when you sent for me, I did not say "No". Now I ask, why did you send for me?'

30 Cornelius answered, `Four days ago, it was just at this time, three o'clock. I was in my house talking with God. I had not eaten any food. A man stood in front of me wearing shining clothes.

31 He said to me, "Cornelius, God has heard what you said to him. He has remembered your gifts to the poor.

32 Send men to Joppa to call for Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon, the man who makes skins into leather. His house is by the sea."

33 So I sent for you right away. You have done well to come. Now we are all here before God to hear all that the Lord has told you to tell me.'

34 Then Peter began to speak, `I really understand now. God does not love some people more than others.

35 But he takes anyone who obeys him. He takes anyone who does what is right. It does not matter to what nation they belong.

36 To the people of Israel God has sent the good news. He gives peace through Jesus Christ. He is Lord of all!

37 You yourselves know the story of what happened all through Judea. It started in Galilee after the baptism which John talked about.

38 God gave Jesus of Nazareth the Holy Spirit and power. Jesus went about doing good deeds. He healed all those who were held by the devil. God was with him.

39 We saw all the things which he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they hung him on a piece of wood and killed him.

40 On the third day, God raised him up to let people see him.

41 Not all the people saw him. But God had chosen us to see and to talk about him. We saw him. We ate and drank with him after he rose from death.

42 He told us to tell the people that God chose him to judge both the living people and the dead people.

43 All the prophets tell about him. They say, "Everyone who believes in him will have his wrong ways forgiven through his name." '

44 While Peter was saying this, the Holy Spirit came on all those who heard the message.

45 The believers who came with Peter were Jews. They were very much surprised that the Holy Spirit was also sent to those who were not Jews. 46,

46-47 hey heard them speak in tongues of other languages and praise God. Then Peter said, `These people have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. Can anyone say they may not be baptised in water?'

48 So he said they were to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. They begged him to stay with them for a while.