An angel messenger came to a Roman soldier
There was a soldier that lived in the town called Caesarea. His name was Cornelius. He was the boss over a mob of soldiers in the Roman army that were called the Italian Mob. He and his family respected God, and they always tried to do things that made God happy. Cornelius gave a lot of money and things to poor people, and he prayed to God every day.
One afternoon, at 3 o’clock, he was praying, and he had something like a dream, but he was not asleep, he was awake. He saw an angel messenger from God come to him and call his name, “Cornelius.”
Cornelius looked at the angel and was frightened of him. He asked him, “What do you want, boss?”
The angel said, “Cornelius, God heard you pray and saw you give money and things to poor people. It is like you gave that money and those things to God, so God is thinking about you. So send some men to Joppa to find a man called Peter. He is staying with a leather worker called Simon. His house is near the sea. Tell your men to get Peter and bring him back to you.”
The angel finished talking with Cornelius and went away. Then Cornelius called 2 of the men that worked in his house, and one of the soldiers that looked after him. That soldier respected God too. Cornelius told them everything that happened, and then he told them to go to Joppa and get Peter.
Peter had something like a dream while he was still awake
The next day, in the middle of the day, those men were walking along and getting near to Joppa. At that same time, Peter went up on to the flat roof of the house to pray. 10 He started feeling hungry and he wanted something to eat, but he waited and prayed while the people in the house were getting some food ready. Then Peter had something like a dream, but he was still awake. 11-12 He saw the sky open up, then he saw something like a big sheet. Somebody was holding on to the 4 corners of that sheet, and there were things in the middle of it. It was coming down from the sky to the ground. There were all sorts of animals in it, and lizards, and snakes, and birds. Their Jewish law said, “Don’t eat those sorts of animals, they are no good.” 13 Then a voice said to Peter, “Get up, Peter. Kill some of those animals and eat them.”
14 But Peter said, “No, boss. I cant do that. Our Jewish law says we cant eat those sorts of animals. They are no good, so I never eat any of them.”
15 Then the voice said to Peter, “If God says that something is good, don’t say it is no good.”
16 That happened 3 times. Each time that voice told Peter to eat one of those animals, and each time Peter said, “No,” and each time the voice said, “If God says that something is good, don’t say it is no good.” Then that sheet went back up into the sky.
17 Peter sat there and thought, “What does this mean? What is God telling me?”
While Peter was still trying to understand it, those 3 men from Cornelius walked into that town. They asked people, “Where does Simon live, the leather worker man?” And the people told them how to get there. Then they went to that house and stood outside the gate, 18 and they asked, “Is Peter here?”
19 At that same time, Peter was thinking about what he just saw, and the Holy Spirit said to him, “Listen, 3 men are down at the gate. They are looking for you. 20 So get up and go down to them. You see, I sent them to you, so just go with them. Don’t worry.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the man you are looking for. Why did you come here?”
22 They said, “Cornelius sent us. He is a boss in the Roman army. He is a good man, and he respects God. All the Jewish people say he is a good man too. God sent one of his angel messengers to Cornelius and told him to ask you to come to his house and talk to him.”
23 So Peter said that he will go with them the next day, and he asked them to come in and stay there that night.
Peter went to the Roman soldier’s house
The next morning, Peter got up and went with those men. Some of the Joppa Christians went with him too. It was a long way, so they had to camp one night along the road. 24 The next day, Cornelius called all his relatives and his close friends to come to his house in Caesarea to wait there for Peter. And Peter and his mob got there at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
25 Peter started to go into the house, and Cornelius met him and got down on to his knees in front of Peter, to show him respect. 26 But Peter lifted him up and said, “Stand up. I’m only a man, like you.” 27 Peter kept on talking with Cornelius, then they went into the house, and Peter saw a lot of people there. 28 He said to them, “You know, you Roman people are not Jews, and the Jewish law teachers reckon that people that aren’t Jews are no good, so a Jewish man shouldn’t go into their house. But God showed me that I cant say that anyone is no good. He showed me that it is all right for me to visit you. 29 Then these men came and asked me to come here, so I didn’t argue with them, and I came here with them. Now, please tell me, why did you ask me to come here?”
30 Cornelius said, “4 days ago I was praying in my house at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Suddenly I saw a man wearing bright shining clothes standing in front of me. 31 And he said to me, ‘Cornelius, God heard you pray, and he knows that you give money and things to poor people. 32 So send some men to Joppa, and tell them to get Peter and bring him back here. He is staying with Simon, a leather worker. His house is near the sea.’ 33 So right away I sent those men to bring you here. Thank you for coming. We are all here, and we know that God is with us. We are ready to hear everything that he told you to say to us.”
Peter told the Romans about Jesus
34 Then Peter started telling those Roman people his message. He said, “Now I really understand that God treats everyone the same.* 35 If anyone respects God, and if they do the right thing, God will let them come to him, and he will listen to them. It doesn’t matter if they are Jews, like us mob, or if they belong to a different nation, like you Roman mob.
36 This is the message that God sent to the Israel people. Jesus Christ can make all of us friends with God. You see, Jesus is the number one boss over everybody. 37 Listen, you know the things that happened, first in Galilee country, and then in Judea country. At first John the Baptiser told the people to turn to God. 38 Then God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit, and he gave him power to do his special work. Jesus was from a town called Nazareth, and he went everywhere doing good things. Some people were sick, and the devil, the boss over the bad spirits, was giving them big trouble. But Jesus made them all better. You see, God was with him.
39 And I was one of Jesus’s special workers. We went around with him, and we saw all the good things that he did. We saw all those things he did in Jerusalem city, and in all the rest of the Jewish people’s country. But then his enemies killed him. They nailed him to a cross. 40 But after 2 days, when it was the 3rd day, God made him alive again, and God let people see him alive. 41 Not everybody saw him alive, but we saw him. We even ate and drank with him. And God picked us to tell other people about him. 42 Jesus told us to tell them that one day he will be the judge of everybody. It will be like God will take everybody into a big court, and Jesus will be the judge. He will judge everybody that is alive, and he will judge everybody that is dead too.
43 But listen, a long time ago, God sent his men to tell people his messages, and they all talked about Jesus. They said that if anyone believes in him, God will say that they are not guilty of the bad things they did.”
The Holy Spirit went into people that were not Jews
44 While Peter was still talking, the Holy Spirit came down and went into all the Roman people that were listening to him. 45 The Christians that went there with Peter, they were Jews, and they were surprised to see God give his Holy Spirit freely to people that were not Jews. 46 You see, they heard that mob talk in different languages and say that God is great, so they knew that God gave them his spirit.
Then Peter said, 47 God gave the Holy Spirit to these people too, just like he gave the Holy Spirit to us. Now nobody can stop us from baptising them in water.” 48 So he told the other Christians to baptise them, to show that those Roman people follow Jesus, the man that God sent to save people.
Then those Roman people asked Peter to stay with them for a few more days.
* 10:34 Deuteronomy 10:17