Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;
and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'
And he said, "Who are You, Lord?' And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,
but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.'
The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.
And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias.' And he said, "Here I am, Lord.'
And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,
and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.'
But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;
and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.'
But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;
for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake.'
So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, " Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'
And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;
and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,
and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God.'
All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?'
But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him,
but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death;
but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.
But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.
And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death.
But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed.
Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.' Immediately he got up.
And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.
And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room.
Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, "Do not delay in coming to us.'
So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them.
But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, " Tabitha, arise.' And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
And Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon. 10
Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort,
a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.
About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, "Cornelius!'
And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, "What is it, Lord?' And he said to him, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
"Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter;
he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.'
When the angel who was speaking to him had left, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were his personal attendants,
and after he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.
But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;
and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,
and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.
A voice came to him, "Get up, Peter, kill and eat!'
But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.'
Again a voice came to him a second time, " What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.'
This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon's house, appeared at the gate;
and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there.
While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you.
"But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.'
Peter went down to the men and said, "Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?'
They said, "Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.'
So he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
On the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him.
But Peter raised him up, saying, " Stand up; I too am just a man.'
As he talked with him, he entered and found many people assembled.
And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.
"That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.'
Cornelius said, " Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments,
and he said, "Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.
"Therefore send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.'
"So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.'
Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,
but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
"The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)
you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.
" You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
"We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.
" God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,
not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
"And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
"Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.'
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered,
" Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?'
And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. 11