Welcome to the Family
Acts 10; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 132–142
I invite others to join God’s family by sharing His love.
“ ‘God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right’ ” (Acts 10:34, 35, NIV).
Have you ever had a dream that made you wonder about something? Some dreams are strange. Some are silly. But some make us think. Peter had a “dream” that really wasn’t a dream at all. It was a vision, and it made him think about something important.
Cornelius was an officer in the Roman army. He was also a man who loved God. Everyone in his house worshiped God. Because he loved God so much, he often talked to Him in prayer.
One day, about three o’clock in the afternoon, Cornelius was praying. Suddenly an angel stood before him and called his name. Cornelius was surprised, and a bit afraid.
“God hears your prayers,” the angel said. “And He sees that you love Him so much that you share with the poor. God wants you to send for a man named Peter. He is staying in the home of Simon, a man who lives by the sea. God wants you to listen to what Peter has to tell you.” Then the angel was gone. Cornelius immediately called two servants and a trusted soldier friend and sent them off to find Peter. While they were gone, Cornelius talked to everyone in his household, to his neighbors, and friends. He invited them to come to his house to hear a special message from God.
About the same time, Peter was on the roof of Simon’s house. Peter was hungry, but dinner wasn’t ready yet. He had gone to the roof to pray while he waited. Suddenly he was having a vision too. The angel had left Cornelius’s home and come to bring a message to Peter too. Peter’s message was an unusual vision about all kinds of animals in a sheet. The sheet was being let down in front of him. The angel told him to eat one of the animals. Peter was very hungry, but he knew that the animals in that sheet were all unclean animals. And unclean animals were not good food.
“No, I can’t do that,” he said.
Then a strange thing happened. The angel said very clearly, three times, “What God has made clean, don’t call unclean.” Peter knew then that the message was not about eating unclean animals. Suddenly he heard knocking on the gate to Simon’s house.
“Is there a man here named Peter?” three men asked the servant at the door.
And the angel said to Peter, “Three men are downstairs looking for you. Get up and go downstairs. Go with them. God is sending you to them.”
Then Peter knew what God was telling him—Jesus died for everyone. Peter knew that he should tell the good news about Jesus to all people. To everyone—even if they did not look or act just as he did. Even if they were from another country.
Peter went downstairs and asked the men to spend the night. In the morning he went with them to Cornelius’s home. Cornelius had all his friends and relatives there waiting for Peter. He believed that Peter had been sent by God to teach them about Jesus. Peter didn’t have any more doubts. Jesus had died for everyone. Everyone must hear the good news. No one must be left out!