Acts 11-12 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Peter Reports to the Church in Jerusalem
11 The apostles and the followers in Judea heard that Gentiles had accepted God’s message. 2 So when Peter came to Jerusalem, some of the Jewish followers started arguing with him. They wanted Gentile followers to be circumcised, and 3 they said, “You stayed in the homes of Gentiles, and you even ate with them!”
4 Then Peter told them exactly what had happened:
5 I was in the town of Joppa and was praying when I fell sound asleep and had a vision. I saw heaven open, and something like a huge sheet held by its four corners came down to me. 6 When I looked in it, I saw animals, wild beasts, snakes, and birds. 7 I heard a voice saying to me, “Peter, get up! Kill these and eat them.”
8 But I said, “Lord, I can’t do that! I’ve never taken a bite of anything that is unclean and not fit to eat.”[a]
9 The voice from heaven spoke to me again, “When God says that something can be used for food, don’t say it isn’t fit to eat.” 10 This happened three times before it was all taken back into heaven.
11 Suddenly three men from Caesarea stood in front of the house where I was staying. 12 The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry. Then six of the Lord’s followers went with me to the home of a man 13 who told us that an angel had appeared to him. The angel had ordered him to send to Joppa for someone named Simon Peter. 14 Then Peter would tell him how he and everyone in his house could be saved.
15 After I started speaking, the Holy Spirit was given to them, just as the Spirit had been given to us at the beginning. 16 I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 17 God gave those Gentiles the same gift that he gave us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So how could I have gone against God?
18 When they heard Peter say this, they stopped arguing and started praising God. They said, “God has now let Gentiles turn to him, and he has given life to them!”
The Church in Antioch
19 Some of the Lord’s followers had been scattered because of the terrible trouble that started when Stephen was killed. They went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, but they told the message only to the Jews.
20 Some of the followers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and started telling Gentiles[b] the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s power was with them, and many people turned to the Lord and put their faith in him. 22 News of what was happening reached the church in Jerusalem. Then they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23 When Barnabas got there and saw what God had been kind enough to do for them, he was very glad. So he begged them to remain faithful to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 Barnabas was a good man of great faith, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Many more people turned to the Lord.
25 Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 He found Saul and brought him to Antioch, where they met with the church for a whole year and taught many of its people. There in Antioch the Lord’s followers were first called Christians.
27 During this time some prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch. 28 One of them was Agabus. Then with the help of the Spirit, he told that there would be a terrible famine everywhere in the world. And it happened when Claudius was Emperor.[c] 29 The followers in Antioch decided to send whatever help they could to the followers in Judea. 30 So they had Barnabas and Saul take their gifts to the church leaders in Jerusalem.
Herod Causes Trouble for the Church
12 At that time King Herod[d] caused terrible suffering for some members of the church. 2 He ordered soldiers to cut off the head of James, the brother of John. 3 When Herod saw that this pleased the Jewish people, he had Peter arrested during the Festival of Thin Bread. 4 He put Peter in jail and ordered four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after the festival.
5 While Peter was being kept in jail, the church never stopped praying to God for him.
Peter Is Rescued
6 The night before Peter was to be put on trial, he was asleep and bound by two chains. A soldier was guarding him on each side, and two other soldiers were guarding the entrance to the jail. 7 Suddenly an angel from the Lord appeared, and light flashed around in the cell. The angel poked Peter in the side and woke him up. Then he said, “Quick! Get up!”
The chains fell off his hands, 8 and the angel said, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” Peter did what he was told. Then the angel said, “Now put on your coat and follow me.” 9 Peter left with the angel, but he thought everything was only a dream. 10 They went past the two groups of soldiers, and when they came to the iron gate to the city, it opened by itself. They went out and were going along the street, when all at once the angel disappeared.
11 Peter now realized what had happened, and he said, “I am certain that the Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod and from everything the Jewish leaders planned to do to me.” 12 Then Peter went to the house of Mary the mother of John whose other name was Mark. Many of the Lord’s followers had come together there and were praying.
13 Peter knocked on the gate, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she heard Peter’s voice, she was too excited to open the gate. She ran back into the house and said that Peter was standing there.
15 “You are crazy!” everyone told her. But she kept saying that it was Peter. Then they said, “It must be his angel.”[e] 16 But Peter kept on knocking, until finally they opened the gate. They saw him and were completely amazed.
17 Peter motioned for them to keep quiet. Then he told how the Lord had led him out of jail. He also said, “Tell James[f] and the others what has happened.” After that, he left and went somewhere else.
18 The next morning the soldiers who had been on guard were terribly worried and wondered what had happened to Peter. 19 Herod ordered his own soldiers to search for him, but they could not find him. Then he questioned the guards and had them put to death. After this, Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.
20 Herod and the people of Tyre and Sidon were very angry with each other. But their country got its food supply from the region that he ruled. So a group of them went to see Blastus, who was one of Herod’s high officials. They convinced Blastus that they wanted to make peace between their cities and Herod, 21 and a day was set for them to meet with him.
Herod came dressed in his royal robes. He sat down on his throne and made a speech. 22 The people shouted, “You speak more like a god than a man!” 23 At once an angel from the Lord struck him down because he took the honor that belonged to God. Later, Herod was eaten by worms and died.
24 God’s message kept spreading. 25 And after Barnabas and Saul had done the work they were sent to do, they went back to Jerusalem[g] with John, whose other name was Mark.
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