CORNELIUS’ VISION IN CAESAREA
Acts 10 records that Cornelius, a captain in the Roman Army who worshipped God and helped the Jewish poor, had a vision. An angel appeared to him around 3:00 p.m, told him that God was pleased with his prayers and his acts of charity, and instructed him to send some men to Joppa for Simon Peter.
SIMON PETER’S VISION IN JOPPA
While Cornelius’ men were on their way to Joppa, Peter had a vision. In Peter’s vision, heaven opened and something like a sheet was lowered to earth. The sheet was filled with all kinds of animals, including unclean animals such as reptiles. Peter was told to “kill and eat.” Peter argued that he had never eaten unclean animals. But the voice spoke to him again. “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean” (Acts 10: 15, GNT). This happened three times before the sheet was taken up into heaven. While Peter was trying to interpret the vision, the Holy Spirit told him that three men (Gentiles) were looking for him and he was to go with them.
THE MEANING OF PETER’S VISION
Peter understood that God was not telling him to abandon the food laws listed in Leviticus 11 but that he should not longer consider the Gentiles unclean. Peter went with the men from Joppa to Caesarea to the home of Cornelius. Many people were waiting when Peter arrived. Listen to Peter’s words as he explains his vision to Cornelius and friends. “You yourselves know 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. And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?” (Acts 10: 28-29, GNT).
PETER SHARES THE GOSPEL WITH THE GENTILES
Cornelius shared his vision of the angel with Peter and asked him to tell him what the Lord commanded.
And opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him” (Acts 10: 34-35, NASB). Then Peter proclaimed the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, adding that everyone who repents and believes in the Messiah receives forgiveness.
THE HOLY SPIRIT FALLS ON THE GENTILES
While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter where astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10: 44-48, NIV).