One day I was on the roof of Simon’s house, praying. I was hungry. Suddenly, a vision of a huge sheet came down. It was full of all kinds of animals: four-footed ones, reptiles, and birds. I heard a voice say, “Peter, kill something and eat.” I knew I shouldn’t eat certain kinds of foods. So I said, “No, Lord. I have never eaten anything You call impure.” The voice answered me. “Do not call impure anything God has made clean.”
This same thing happened three times! While I was wondering what it meant, men sent from the Roman soldier Cornelius came looking for me. The Holy Spirit said to me, “Peter, three men are looking for you. Go with them because I sent them.”
I arranged to go with the men to meet Cornelius. The men told me Cornelius was a man who believed in God even though he was not a Jew. When we got to Cornelius’ house, he greeted me by falling at my feet in respect. I made him get up. I explained I was just a man myself. Inside, I saw a large group of people waiting inside the house.
Cornelius told me that four days earlier a man in bright clothing had come to him, telling him to send for me. Cornelius had gathered the people to listen to me.
I realized the vision God sent meant that He wants all people to know the good news of Jesus, not just Jews. I told how Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit came to each person who was listening. My friends and I were astonished since we thought only Jews could have the Holy Spirit. I knew the people truly believed in Jesus and had received the Holy Spirit. So we baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why would you want to go there? The world is a huge place with so many amazing places to visit. There is one thing that every country has in common, though. Every country has people who need to hear about Jesus. No matter where you are from or where you live now, the good news of God’s love is for you!
Peter was a disciple of Jesus. Up to the point of this week’s Bible story, he and other believers thought the Holy Spirit would only come to people who were Jewish. (A Jewish person was someone who was a descendent of the Hebrew people, the Israelites.)
God sent Peter a vision that helped him know everyone needed to hear the good news of Jesus, not just Jews. When a group of men came and asked him to travel with them to meet a man named Cornelius, the Holy Spirit led him to go.
Cornelius was a Gentile. (A Gentile is a person who is not a Jew.) When Peter arrived, there was a large group of people waiting for Peter’s message for them. Peter told them about Jesus. They believed what Peter was telling them. The Holy Spirit came upon them, and then they were baptized. Peter knew that God wanted everyone to hear about Jesus, even the Gentiles.
God wants all believers to tell people about Jesus. It doesn’t matter where people are from or who they are—God wants everyone to believe in Him. Whether you stay right in your neighborhood or travel to a faraway land, there are people who need to hear about Jesus.
1. What did Peter’s vision help him understand?
2. What message did Peter share with the people at Cornelius’ home?
3. What happened to the Gentile people who believed Peter’s message that day?
Pray: God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit for those who believe. Thank You that this gift isn’t just for one group of people but for all who believe. Help us to share Your message of love and forgiveness with all those around us, no matter where they live. Amen.