Peter Explains His Actions
1The apostles and the believers all through Judea heard that Gentiles had also received God’s word. 2Peter went up to Jerusalem. There the Jewish believers found fault with him. 3They said, “You went into the house of Gentiles. You ate with them.”
4Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story. 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying,” he said. “There I had a vision. I saw something that looked like a large sheet. It was being let down from heaven by its four corners. It came down to where I was. 6I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth. There were also wild animals, reptiles and birds. 7Then I heard a voice speaking to me. ‘Get up, Peter,’ the voice said. ‘Kill and eat.’
8“I replied, ‘No, Lord! I will not! Nothing that is not pure and “clean” has ever entered my mouth.’
9“A second time the voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, ‘Do not say anything is not pure that God has made “clean.” ’ 10This happened three times. Then the sheet was pulled up into heaven.
11“Just then three men stopped at the house where I was staying. They had been sent to me from Caesarea. 12The Holy Spirit told me not to let anything keep me from going with them. These six brothers here went with me. We entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house. The angel said, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon Peter. 14He has a message to bring to you. You and your whole family will be saved through it.’
15“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them. He came just as he had come on us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered the Lord’s words. ‘John baptized with water,’ he had said. ‘But you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17God gave them the same gift he gave those of us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. So who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
18When they heard this, they didn’t object anymore. They praised God. They said, “So then, God has allowed even Gentiles to turn away from their sins. He did this so that they could live.”
The Believers in Antioch
19Some believers had been scattered by the suffering that unbelievers had caused them. They were scattered after Stephen was killed. Those believers traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. But they spread the word only among Jews. 20Some believers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch. There they began to speak to Greeks also. They told them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord’s power was with them. Large numbers of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22The church in Jerusalem heard about this. So they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad. He told them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24Barnabas was a good man. He was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. Large numbers of people came to know the Lord.
25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26He found him there. Then he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church. They taught large numbers of people. At Antioch the believers were called Christians for the first time.
27In those days some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them was named Agabus. He stood up and spoke through the Spirit. He said there would not be nearly enough food anywhere in the Roman world. This happened while Claudius was the emperor. 29The believers decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. All of them helped as much as they could. 30They sent their gift to the elders through Barnabas and Saul.