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God shows Peter in a vision that he can eat anything, clean and unclean, then sends him to the house of a Gentile, Cornelius, who is filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter and the believers in Jerusalem (all Jews) accept this means God accepts Jews and Gentiles; Barnabas takes Saul to Antioch about the same time: Acts 10–11

Two visions:

  • an angel visits a Gentile called Cornelius and tells him where to find Peter and to bring him back
  • God shows Peter a vision of all sorts of animals, clean and unclean, then tells him he can eat them all.

Peter gets his vision this three times. It was a radical idea, so the point needed repeating. Then the Holy Spirit tells him to go with the Gentiles at his host’s gate: to Cornelius’ house.

Putting the two visions together, Peter came to the only obvious conclusion:

Acts 10:34-36 I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

This changed the church.

Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius (Francesco Trevisani (1656–1746), Wikimedia Commons

Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius (Francesco Trevisani (1656–1746), Wikimedia Commons

(Peter probably wasn’t quite as old as the artwork suggests, but it’s still a powerful presentation of Cornelius’ humility.)