Story Seven

 •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Acts 9:32, to 11:18
AS the church was now planted in many cities throughout the land of the Jews̝, Pḗ te͂r, who was a leader among the apostles, went from place to place visiting the believers in Christ and preaching the gospel. At one time Pḗ te͂r went down to the plain beside the Great Sea, and came to a city called Ly̆d́ dȧ. There Pḗ te͂r found a man named Ǽ ne-ăs, who had the palsy, and could not walk, and had been lying on his bed eight years. Pḗ te͂r said to him, "Ǽ ne-ăs, Jesus Christ makes you well; rise up, and roll up your bed.”
Then at once Ǽ ne-ăs arose, and was well; and he took up the roll of matting on which he had been lying so long, and laid it away. All the people in Ly̆d́ dȧ and in Sā́ ron heard of this great work, and many turned to the Lord.
There had been living at Jŏṕ pȧ, not far from Ly̆ḋ dȧ, a very good woman, whom everybody loved. She was called "The Gazelle," which is the name of a beautiful animal, like a deer. For her name in Hḗ brew was Tăb́ ĭ-thȧ, arid in Greek was Dôŕ cas, words which mean "Gazelle." Tăb́ ĭ-thȧ, or Dôŕ cas, was a believer in Christ, and like her Lord, she loved the poor and helped them, by her work and by her gifts.
While Pḗ te͂r was at Ly̆d́ dȧ, Dôŕ cas was taken ill and died. They laid her body in an upper room, and then they sent two men to Ly̆d́ dȧ for Pḗ te͂r, begging him to come without delay. Pḗ te͂r went to Jŏṕ pȧ at once; and when he came to the house where the body of Dôŕ cas was lying he found the room filled with widows and poor women, who were weeping, and showing the garments which Dôŕ cas had made for them.
But Pḗ te͂r sent them all out of the room; and when he was alone with the body of Dôŕ cas, he knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body and said, "Tâb́ ĭ-thȧ, arise!”
And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Pḗ te͂r she sat up. Pḗ te͂r took her by the hand, and raised her up; then he called into the room the widows and the believers in Christ, and showed Dôŕ cas to them, alive and well. The news of this wonderful work, of life given to the dead, amazed all the city of Jŏṕ pȧ, and led many to believe in Christ. Pḗ te͂r stayed many days in Jŏṕ pȧ, at the house of a man named Sī́ mon, who was a tanner, and lived near the sea.
At that time an officer of the Rṓ man army was at Cæs-a-rḗ ȧ, about thirty miles north of Jŏṕ pȧ, beside the Great Sea. His name was Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs; and he was the commander of a company of a hundred soldiers. We would call such an officer "a captain," but in the Rṓ man army he was called "a centurion." The centurion Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs was not a Jew, but a Gentile, which was the name that the Jews̝ gave to all people except themselves. Yet Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs did not worship idols, as did most of the Gentile. He prayed always to the God of Ĭś̝ ra-el, and feared God, and gave to the poor; and he taught his family to worship the Lord.
One day, in the afternoon, Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs was praying in his house, when an angel came to him and called him by name, "Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs!" Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs looked at this strange and shining being, and he was filled with fear, but he said, "What is it, Lord?”
And the angel said to him, "Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs, the Lord has seen your gifts to the people and has heard all your prayers. Now send men to Jŏṕ pȧ, and let them bring to you a man named Sī-mon Peter. He is staying in the house of Sī-mon the tanner, who lives by the sea.”
Then the angel passed out of sight, and Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs called two servants and a soldier who worshipped the Lord. He told them what the angel had said, and sent them to Jŏṕ pȧ for Pḗ te͂r. These men traveled all night, following the road southward by the Great Sea, and about noon of the next day they drew near to Jŏṕ pȧ.
On that day, just before these men came to Jŏṕ pȧ at noon, Pḗ te͂r went up to the roof of the house to pray. He became very hungry, and wished for food; but while they were making ready the dinner he fell into a strange sleep, and a vision came to him. In his vision he saw what seemed to be a great sheet let down by its four corners from above. In it he saw all kinds of beasts, and birds, and creeping things. Some of these were animals and birds that the Jews̝ were allowed to eat; but many others were of kinds that the old law forbade the Jews̝ to eat; and such as were forbidden, the Jews̝ called "common" and "unclean." Pḗ te͂r saw in this great sheet many beasts, and birds, and creeping things that in his sight were common and unclean. As he looked, he heard a voice saying to him, "Rise, Pḗ te͂r; kill and eat.”
Pḗ te͂r had always been very strict in keeping the Jeẃ ĭsh rules about food, and he answered, "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
Then he heard the voice saying to him, "What God has made clean, do not thou make common or unclean.”
Three times Pḗ te͂r heard these words spoken, and then the great sheet with all the living creatures in it was lifted up to heaven and passed out of his sight. Pḗ te͂r knew at once that the vision and the words which he had heard must have a great meaning; but as he thought upon it he could not see what the meaning was. While he was thinking of the vision and wondering at it, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to him, saying, "Pḗ ter, three men are looking for you. Go down to the door and meet them; and go with them, without doubting, for I have sent them." Just at that moment the three men from Cæs-a-rḗ ȧ knocked at the door, and asked for Sīˈmon Pḗ te͂r. Pḗ te͂r met them, and said to them, "I am here, the man whom you are looking for. For what reason have you come to me?”
And they said, "Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs, a centurion at Cæs-a-rḗ ȧ, a good man, one that fears God, and is well spoken of by all the Jews̝, was yesterday commanded by a holy angel to send for you, and to listen to words from you.”
Then Pḗ te͂r called the men into the house, and heard all their story, and kept them there that night. On the next morning he went with them, and some of the believers from the church of Jŏṕ pȧ went with the party. On the next day they came to Cæs-a-rḗ ȧ, and entered into the house of Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs. There they found Côr-ne͂́ lĭ-ŭs waiting for them, and with him a number of his family, and his friends. As Pḗ te͂r came into the room, Côŕ nḗ lĭ-ŭs fell down at his feet, and was about to worship him; but Pḗ te͂r raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself, also, am a man, and not God.”
And as Pḗ te͂r looked around he saw many people that had met together; and they were all Gĕń tīles̝, men who were not Jews̝. And Pḗ te͂r said, "You know that it is against the law of the Jews̝ for a man that is a Jew to come into the house with one of another nation, or to meet with him. But God has showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. For this reason I came at once when I was sent for. Now I ask for what purpose you have sent for me.”
Then Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs said, "Four days ago I was praying, at three o'clock in the afternoon, when a man stood by me, clad in shining garments, and he said to me, Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs, your prayer is heard, and your good deeds are known to God. Send now to Jŏṕ pȧ, and send for Sī́ mon, who is called Pḗ te͂r.' I sent at once for you, and you have done well to come so soon. Now we are all here before God, to hear whatever God has given to you to speak to us.”
Then Pḗ te͂r opened his mouth, and began to speak; for he saw now what the vision meant which he had seen on the housetop. He said, "I see now that God cares for all men alike, hot for the people of one nation only; but that in every nation those that fear God and do right are pleasing to him." Then Pḗ te͂r began to tell the story of Jesus; how he lived, how he did good works, how he died, how he rose again, and how in Jesus Christ everyone who believes may have his sins forgiven.
While Pḗ te͂r was speaking the Holy Spirit fell on all who were in the room. And the Jews̝ who were with Pḗ te͂r were amazed as they saw the Spirit of God given to Gĕń tiles̝, men who were not Jews̝. Then Pḗ te͂r said, "Can any man forbid that these should be baptized with water, upon whom the Spirit has come, as he came upon us?”
Then by Pḗ te͂r's command these Gĕn-tīle believers with Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs were baptized as members of Christ's Church. And Pḗ te͂r stayed with them a few days, living with Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs, and eating at his table, though he was a Gĕn-tīle, something which Pḗ te͂r would never before have thought it right for him to do. Soon the news went through all the churches in Jū-dḗ ȧ that Gĕn-tīles̝ had heard the word, and had been baptized. At first the Jeẃ ĭsh believers could not, believe that this should be allowed; but when Pḗ te͂r had told them all the story of Côr-nḗ lĭ-ŭs and the angel, of his own vision of the great sheet full of animals, and of the Spirit coming upon the Gĕn-tīles̝, then they all praised God, and said, "So to the Gĕn-tīles̝, as well as to the Jews̝, God has given to turn from their sins, and to be saved in Jesus Christ, and to have everlasting life.”
Lesson 39. About the Apostle Peter.
(Tell Story 7 in Part Seventh.)
1. To what place did the Apostle Peter go? To Joppa, by the Great Sea.
2. What did Peter do by a prayer at Joppa? He raised a woman to life.
3. Who was this woman whom Peter raised to life? A good woman named Dorcas.
4. What did God teach Peter in a dream at Joppa? That people of every land and nation might be saved.
5. What did the Jews call the people of every nation except themselves? Gentiles.
6. To what Gentile did God send Peter to preach the gospel? To Cornelius a Roman officer.
7. What did Peter and the church at Jerusalem learn from this? To preach Christ to the Gentiles.
8. What was done to Peter after this at Jerusalem? He was put in prison.
9. What did the king intend to do with Peter on the next day? To put him to death.
10. What happened to Peter on that night? He was set free by an angel.