Bible: Acts 11:1-12:25
Peter Defends His Actions to the Jerusalem Church
11:1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted 1 the word of God. 2 11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, 3 the circumcised believers 4 took issue with 5 him, 11:3 saying, “You went to 6 uncircumcised men and shared a meal with 7 them.” 11:4 But Peter began and explained it to them point by point, 8 saying, 11:5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, 9 an object something like a large sheet descending, 10 being let down from heaven 11 by its four corners, and it came to me. 11:6 As I stared 12 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, 13 and wild birds. 14 11:7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; slaughter 15 and eat!’ 11:8 But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord, for nothing defiled or ritually unclean 16 has ever entered my mouth!’ 11:9 But the voice replied a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not consider 17 ritually unclean!’ 11:10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled up to heaven again. 11:11 At that very moment, 18 three men sent to me from Caesarea 19 approached 20 the house where we were staying. 21 11:12 The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers 22 also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 11:13 He informed us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, 11:14 who will speak a message 23 to you by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 11:15 Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on 24 them just as he did 25 on us at the beginning. 26 11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, 27 as he used to say, 28 ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 29 11:17 Therefore if God 30 gave them the same gift 31 as he also gave us after believing 32 in the Lord Jesus Christ, 33 who was I to hinder 34 God?” 11:18 When they heard this, 35 they ceased their objections 36 and praised 37 God, saying, “So then, God has granted the repentance 38 that leads to life even to the Gentiles.” 39
Activity in the Church at Antioch
11:19 Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen 40 went as far as 41 Phoenicia, 42 Cyprus, 43 and Antioch, 44 speaking the message 45 to no one but Jews. 11:20 But there were some men from Cyprus 46 and Cyrene 47 among them who came 48 to Antioch 49 and began to speak to the Greeks 50 too, proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus. 11:21 The 51 hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed 52 turned 53 to the Lord. 11:22 A report 54 about them came to the attention 55 of the church in Jerusalem, 56 and they sent Barnabas 57 to Antioch. 58 11:23 When 59 he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain true 60 to the Lord with devoted hearts, 61 11:24 because he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and a significant number of people 62 were brought to the Lord. 11:25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to look for Saul, 11:26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. 63 So 64 for a whole year Barnabas and Saul 65 met with the church and taught a significant number of people. 66 Now it was in Antioch 67 that the disciples were first called Christians. 68
Famine Relief for Judea
11:27 At that time 69 some 70 prophets 71 came down 72 from Jerusalem 73 to Antioch. 74 11:28 One of them, named Agabus, got up 75 and predicted 76 by the Spirit that a severe 77 famine 78 was about to come over the whole inhabited world. 79 (This 80 took place during the reign of Claudius.) 81 11:29 So the disciples, each in accordance with his financial ability, 82 decided 83 to send relief 84 to the brothers living in Judea. 11:30 They did so, 85 sending their financial aid 86 to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
James is Killed and Peter Imprisoned
12:1 About that time King Herod 87 laid hands on 88 some from the church to harm them. 89 12:2 He had James, the brother of John, executed with a sword. 90 12:3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, 91 he proceeded to arrest Peter too. (This took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread.) 92 12:4 When he had seized him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads 93 of soldiers to guard him. Herod 94 planned 95 to bring him out for public trial 96 after the Passover. 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but those in the church were earnestly 97 praying to God for him. 98 12:6 On that very night before Herod was going to bring him out for trial, 99 Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, while 100 guards in front of the door were keeping watch 101 over the prison. 12:7 Suddenly 102 an angel of the Lord 103 appeared, and a light shone in the prison cell. He struck 104 Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly!” And the chains fell off Peter’s 105 wrists. 106 12:8 The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt 107 and put on your sandals.” Peter 108 did so. Then the angel 109 said to him, “Put on your cloak 110 and follow me.” 12:9 Peter 111 went out 112 and followed him; 113 he did not realize that what was happening through the angel was real, 114 but thought he was seeing a vision. 12:10 After they had passed the first and second guards, 115 they came to the iron 116 gate leading into the city. It 117 opened for them by itself, 118 and they went outside and walked down one narrow street, 119 when at once the angel left him. 12:11 When 120 Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued 121 me from the hand 122 of Herod 123 and from everything the Jewish people 124 were expecting to happen.”
12:12 When Peter 125 realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, 126 where many people had gathered together and were praying. 12:13 When he knocked at the door of the outer gate, a slave girl named Rhoda answered. 127 12:14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she did not open the gate, but ran back in and told 128 them 129 that Peter was standing at the gate. 12:15 But they said to her, “You’ve lost your mind!” 130 But she kept insisting that it was Peter, 131 and they kept saying, 132 “It is his angel!” 133 12:16 Now Peter continued knocking, and when they opened the door 134 and saw him, they were greatly astonished. 135 12:17 He motioned to them 136 with his hand to be quiet and then related 137 how the Lord had brought 138 him out of the prison. He said, “Tell James and the brothers these things,” and then he left and went to another place. 139
12:18 At daybreak 140 there was great consternation 141 among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 12:19 When Herod 142 had searched 143 for him and did not find him, he questioned 144 the guards and commanded that they be led away to execution. 145 Then 146 Herod 147 went down from Judea to Caesarea 148 and stayed there.
12:20 Now Herod 149 was having an angry quarrel 150 with the people of Tyre 151 and Sidon. 152 So they joined together 153 and presented themselves before him. And after convincing 154 Blastus, the king’s personal assistant, 155 to help them, 156 they asked for peace, 157 because their country’s food supply was provided by the king’s country. 12:21 On a day determined in advance, Herod 158 put on his royal robes, 159 sat down on the judgment seat, 160 and made a speech 161 to them. 12:22 But the crowd 162 began to shout, 163 “The voice of a god, 164 and not of a man!” 12:23 Immediately an angel of the Lord 165 struck 166 Herod 167 down because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died. 168 12:24 But the word of God 169 kept on increasing 170 and multiplying.