Cornelius lived in the city of Caesarea. He was an honest man who helped the poor and prayed to God.
One day after he had been fasting and praying, an angel appeared before him. The angel said, “Cornelius, the Lord has heard your prayers and has seen the good work you do. Now send to Joppa to find a man named Peter who is living in a house by the seaside. He shall tell you what you should do.”
When the angel left, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devoted soldier and told them what had happened. Then he sent them to Joppa to find Peter.
The next day before eating, Peter went up on the housetop to pray. While he was praying, he had a vision. The heavens opened, and Peter saw a great sheet let down by its four corners. Inside were all kinds of four-footed beasts of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and fowls of the air.
“Rise, Peter,” a voice commanded. “Kill and eat.”
But Peter replied, “Not so Lord, for according to the Jewish law these things should not be eaten.”
The voice spoke to him a second time, saying, “What God hath declared is right, you may do without breaking any law.”
This same vision appeared three times, and then the sheet was finally taken up again into heaven.
While Peter thought about the meaning of this strange vision, the Spirit of the Lord said to him, “Behold, three men seek thee. Arise and go with them, doubting nothing, for I have sent them.”
Peter went down to meet Cornelius’ men. “I am the one you seek,” he said. “Why have you come?”
The men replied that their master, Cornelius, had been told by an angel to send for Peter and to listen to his words.
Early the next morning Peter and six of his friends who were followers of Jesus in Joppa went with the men to Caesarea.
As they approached the city, Cornelius ran to meet Peter and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.
But Peter took him up, saying, “Stand up. I am also only a man.”
When they entered Cornelius’ house, Peter found that Cornelius had called together many of his relatives and friends.
“You know that it is unlawful for a man who is a Jew to keep company or come into the house of one of another nation,” Peter reminded Cornelius. “But God has shown me that I should be here, so I came as soon as I was sent for.”
Then Cornelius told Peter about the vision he had received four days earlier. He said, “Therefore, we are here to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.”
Peter answered, “Of a truth I see that God loves people of every nation, and those who fear Him and work righteousness are accepted by Him.”
When Peter and the other members of the Church who were with him saw that the Holy Ghost fell on those who were not Jews, they were astonished, for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then, seeing that Cornelius and those he had invited to his house had received the Holy Ghost, Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
Peter remained with these new members of the Church for several days and then returned home. When he told his brethren about his experience, they glorified God, saying, “Now has God also granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews.” (Acts 10–11.)