Sustained by God’s Word of Spiritual Renewal
Acts 10:1-33: Peter has a vision in which he is shown that nothing is unclean that God has declared clean. Meanwhile, Cornelius, a Gentile and a Roman officer, has a vision of an angel telling him to invite Peter to his house.
The angel answered, “God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you.”
1There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman army regiment called “The Italian Regiment.”2He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshiped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God.3It was about three o'clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius!”
4He stared at the angel in fear and said, “What is it, sir?”
The angel answered, “God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you.5And now send some men to Joppa for a certain man whose full name is Simon Peter.6He is a guest in the home of a tanner of leather named Simon, who lives by the sea.”7Then the angel went away, and Cornelius called two of his house servants and a soldier, a religious man who was one of his personal attendants.8He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
9 The next day, as they were on their way and coming near Joppa, Peter went up on the roof of the house about noon in order to pray.10He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision.11He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth.12In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds.13A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!”
14But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled.”
15The voice spoke to him again, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.”16This happened three times, and then the thing was taken back up into heaven.
17While Peter was wondering about the meaning of this vision, the men sent by Cornelius had learned where Simon's house was, and they were now standing in front of the gate.18They called out and asked, “Is there a guest here by the name of Simon Peter?”
19Peter was still trying to understand what the vision meant, when the Spirit said, “Listen! Three men are here looking for you.20So get ready and go down, and do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”21So Peter went down and said to the men, “I am the man you are looking for. Why have you come?”
22“Captain Cornelius sent us,” they answered. “He is a good man who worships God and is highly respected by all the Jewish people. An angel of God told him to invite you to his house, so that he could hear what you have to say.”23Peter invited the men in and had them spend the night there.
The next day he got ready and went with them; and some of the believers from Joppa went along with him.24The following day he arrived in Caesarea, where Cornelius was waiting for him, together with relatives and close friends that he had invited.25As Peter was about to go in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and bowed down before him.26But Peter made him rise. “Stand up,” he said, “I myself am only a man.”27Peter kept on talking to Cornelius as he went into the house, where he found many people gathered.28He said to them, “You yourselves know very well that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled.29And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?”
30Cornelius said, “It was about this time three days ago that I was praying in my house at three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a man dressed in shining clothes stood in front of me31and said: ‘Cornelius! God has heard your prayer and has taken notice of your works of charity.32Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner of leather, who lives by the sea.’33And so I sent for you at once, and you have been good enough to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God, waiting to hear anything that the Lord has instructed you to say.”
How is Cornelius described? What is he told to do? What is Peter’s vision? How does he respond to what he is told to do? How might these visions have been strange or surprising to each of these men? Have you ever been surprised by something God did in your life?
Lord God, open my heart and my mind to your Word and to your surprising joys and new opportunities to advance your kingdom. Amen.
First-time visitors to communities of faith seeking a church home
Acts 10:34-48: Peter proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ.