Saint Peter

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A statue of St. Peter at the Seville cathedral in Spain. In the Book of Acts, St. Peter experiences a life-changing dream, after which he accepts that all men are equal in the eyes of God.

Saint Peter

(dreams)

One of the most significant visions reported in the Bible was experienced by the apostle Peter, whose Hebrew name was Simon. His dream-trance is connected with a vision given to the God-fearing Roman centurion Cornelius, in which an angel entered Cornelius’s house and told him that he was to send a servant to Jaffa to look for Peter and invite him to his house. Cornelius was praying at the time, thus he saw the angel with his physical eyes, not in a dream state. The next day, while the messengers of Cornelius were nearing Jaffa, Peter was praying and fell into a trance:

He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. (Acts 10:11–16)

Peter was wondering about the vision when the men sent by Cornelius found his house. When they were asking for him, the Spirit told him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them” (Acts 10:19–20).

When he arrived in Caesarea where Cornelius was waiting, the first thing that Peter said was that he knew that no one can be called unclean: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34–35). Thus, like Paul, Peter is completely turned around by his dream, the contents of which give him a new direction and a new understanding.

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