This is a passage full of miracles. It tells how in the early days of the church God intervened to urge Peter to bring the Gospel to Gentiles, and how Peter obeyed. Both parts of the story are amazing to read.
First, the Gentile Cornelius saw an angel who gave Cornelius directions to where Peter was staying in Joppa. (Acts 10:6; they were pretty specific directions, this was before Mapquest). Then Peter, while praying, saw a vision in which he was commanded to eat animals which he considered unclean. A voice told Peter that things which God has made clean are not impure. Then, the visitors from Cornelius’ house came and the Holy Spirit told Peter to go with the men.
Peter came to Cornelius’ house where Cornelius told Peter that God had commanded Peter to speak (v. 33). So, in verse 34, Peter began. The first thing he said was that he now realized that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear God.
By the power of God, Peter had learned in just a short time what his upbringing as a Jew had never told him, that God accepts Gentiles. He acknowledged that the prophets had asserted that all who come to Jesus, from any nation, will receive forgiveness (v. 43).
As Peter spoke the Holy Spirit came upon his audience. The friends who had come with Peter were astonished that the Holy Spirit would come even to Gentiles (v. 45), just like He came to the Jewish Christians on the day of Pentecost. That these faithful people were astonished helps us see what a major change this is.
God did an amazing work in Peter. I like reading about all the angels, and visions, and men who were faithful and how God rewarded them, and how the Gospel came to us, living today. May we be faithful and so be a channel for others to hear the Gospel.