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Peter and Cornelius

We did Peter and Cornelius during one summer as part of an 8 Week SERIES, spending 2 weeks each on these stories from the Book of ACTS about Spreading the Gospel (Evangelism) 

The four stories were:

  1. Peter's Vision of the Unclean/Clean Animals
  2. Peter and Cornelius
  3. Lydia's Story
  4. Paul and Silas in Prison

ALL FOUR OF THESE STORIES are about Evangelism and Baptism, which are two sides of the same coin.

We started with Peter's Vision of Unclean/Clean Animals --which is God saying 'go ahead and reach out to, and baptize the Gentiles'.

Then we covered Peter's baptism of Cornelius the Roman (a Gentile), who brings his entire household into the faith.

Then we taught a short rotation on Lydia's story, a non-Jew that Paul baptized.

And finished with Paul and Silas in the Philippi prison earthquake --where Paul baptizes the jailer and his family after the earthquake.

SOME of my lesson ideas for that 8 week rotation appear BELOW in this discussion. 

The Paul and Silas Prison Earthquake lessons and "how to make the Philipp jail" are in their own Paul and Silas thread here at rotation.or.

There are two big themes/questions running through Acts and these four stories:

1) The question "what must I do to be saved/to become a believer." The answer is "believe in the Lord Jesus and be baptized." Baptism is an outward sign of God's invisible acceptance of us into his family. Thus, it is often called an "invisible grace".   

    Which comes first? Belief or baptism? Neither. God comes first! "He first loved us".

2) Each story teaches us that Jesus Christ is for everyone, not just some. These stories teach us to share that Good News with everyone. 

   How do some people leave others out, make them feel excluded in school, in church.

Some interesting Life App Questions for kids:

  • Cornelius, Lydia, and the Jailer had their "whole household" baptized.  Why did they do that?  
  • What does it mean when a child or baby is baptized?  (It's a sign that God first chooses us, and works through our families and extended families, like the church, to raise us in faith.)
  • How does your parent's faith bring YOU to eagerly listen to the message?
  • What did Cornelius, Lydia and the Jailer need to do after they were baptized?  What do YOU need to do?  What does your baptism into God's family MAKE you want to do?


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

One of the things that I like to do over a rotation is that even though we teach the same story, we intentionally have a different discussion. That is, we lift up different ideas and themes from the same story.

So what I hear being said is there are several discussions to be lifted out of the story.

  • A discussion about baptism -- specifically the questions Neil listed regarding baptism of the entire household.
  • Figuring out what it means that the spirit rested upon Cornelius -- what did that look like, how did they know, etc.
  • clarification about Jewish/Gentile tensions in the early church, including Jewish dietary laws. (Sounds like a cooking rotationSmile)
  • Labeling of "clean" vs. "unclean" -- in Biblical times and in our times. Who is included and who is excluded?
  • Cornelius is saved. What must I do to be saved?
  • Bringing Christ to others (evangelism)
  • Prayer/revelation. By going to the roof to pray, Peter understood God more clearly. How does prayer help us understand the mind of God?


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

<< Computer Lab Idea for CORNELIUS >>

Imagine how the guy had to EXPLAIN himself to others. He's superiors, his men in the barracks. Imagine him explaining to his "household" why he wanted them baptized.

and...What would some of his peers (unbelievers) have said to him about wanting to be baptized?

Cornelius has a lot of explaining to do ...his boss, the other soldiers, and even some of the Jews and Christians who might not believe he has converted!

Computer lab software/ideas:

  1. Create a set of new scripture verses where Cornelius explains himself. Try to create one verse as a "Memory Verse". Edit this new memory verse into Cal & Marty's Scripture Memory Game CD.
  2. Use Kid Pix to draw the faces of all the people Cornelius had to answer to. Add text (which Kid Pix can speak out loud) of their protestations against Cornelius (put-downs about baptism or his new faith).
  3. Use Let's Talk CD to retell the story from CORNELIUS' point of view. Create an animated character in that program to be Cornelius and write him dialog which the computer program will have him speak out loud. This can be done simply enough in the "Talk Now" module, or more elaborately in the "Lesson Builder" module complete with 3 spoken Quiz questions and 3 spoken questions for discussion.

    <>< Neil
Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Originally Posted by Neil MacQueen
July 07, 2002

(See Neil's other posts above)

Peter's Vision of Animals, Peter & Cornelius

I'm starting some notes here about summer rotation lessons I took part in about Peter's vision of clean/unclean animals, and his baptism of Cornelius as the beginning of Peter's/Jerusalem's acceptance of Gentiles. Feel free to add your own. Sorry we didn't write them out as complete lessons. I taught all these workshops in our small church using notes.

<>< Neil

One of the reasons the story of Peter's Vision, and Cornelius' baptism is IMPORTANT is because it demonstrates God's desire to be EVERYBODY'S GOD, and Jesus to be EVERYBODY'S CHRIST, everybody's Messiah.

The Holy Spirit moved the Church and Peter to consider something they had previously thought was OUT OF BOUNDS.

The Holy Spirit steps in and gives Christians to set aside and reinvent their traditions. It is also a story of BRAVERY. Both Peter and Cornelius were men of position doing something that would harm their reputation.

1. Video Workshop:

We used a selection from the video A.D. (the Book of Acts miniseries by the same people who produced Jesus of Nazareth, available from Amazon. There are two versions, one for the church which takes out some of the 'extra' hollywood story line the series originally had).

Prior to showing Cornelius/Peter section, I drew out a timeline of events starting with Jesus' resurrection. I discussed the arrival of Paul on the scene and the disciple's early arguments about whether the message of Christ was for Jews or everyone.

2. Drama Workshop

We began the class by reviewing what they knew about the story. We used the "Peter's Vision" worksheet (#255 from Calvary's Church website (which has now changed) as a "quiz" and introduction to the story for those new to it.

Then we dropped in to Acts 10 and read only the part about Peter's vision.
I then digressed for a few minutes to talk about "kosher laws." See my other posting below for that document. We discussed rules WE follow in the kitchen today, such as with raw chicken, proper cooking of food.

We re-enacted Acts 10, the entire chapter, by walking through it as it was read aloud. There are plenty of "quotes" for the characters to repeat when they hear the narrator read them aloud. The "blanket of animals" vision is a good prop to spend time doing and discussing. The kids enjoyed tossing some stuffed animals onto the blanket.

Characters: Peter, Peter's entourage, Cornelius, Cornelius' messengers, the Angel who appears to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit who speaks to Peter. The family of Cornelius who are baptized.

Some Key Points about these stories for any workshop...

  1. God's messengers and message have no boundary. They are for everyone everywhere. No one is excluded. That which you may think is "unclean" can change. Be guided by the Spirit, not Tradition.
  2. New believers are called to believe in Jesus Christ as their savior. They can create their own "traditions and practices" as long as those traditions reflect the central message of the Gospel --which is inclusion, not exclusion, Love, not hate. God embracing us before we choose to embrace him. The Holy Spirit can guide us to create new meaningful traditions.
  3. Both Peter and Cornelius risked their reputations by listening to God. In fact, some of the disciples were very upset with Peter. When you believe in Jesus, you will likely risk your reputation.
  4. For older kids: What "traditions" or practices in our church could we change to make them more meaningful to new Christians and kids.

I did NOT get into the issue of circumcision with my elementary kids.

<>< Neil

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Cooking Workshop Demonstration of Kosher Laws

The Cooking Workshop often has "down time" while things cook. So while you're in there, why not do a demonstration of the concept of "kosher". the ideas below should help inspire.

The following was excerpted from

Notes on "relevance to children" are at the end of this posting.

Although the details of kashrut (kosher) are extensive, the laws all derive from a few fairly simple, straightforward rules:

Certain animals may not be eaten at all. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
All blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out of it before it is eaten.

Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).

Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.

Animals that may not be eaten
Of the "beasts of the earth" (which basically refers to land mammals with the exception of swarming rodents), you may eat any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud. Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:6. The Torah specifies that the camel, the rock badger, the hare and the pig are not kosher because each lacks one of these two qualifications. Sheep, cattle, goats and deer are kosher.

Of the things that are in the waters, you may eat anything that has fins and scales. Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9. Thus, shellfish such as lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams and crabs are all forbidden. Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are all permitted.

All of the birds on the list are birds of prey or scavengers, thus the rabbis inferred that this was the basis for the distinction. Other birds are permitted, such as chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys. Of the "winged swarming things" (winged insects), a few are specifically permitted (Lev. 11:22), but the Sages are no longer certain which ones they are, so all have been forbidden.
Rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects (except as mentioned above) are all forbidden. Lev. 11:29-30, 42-43.

Draining of Blood
The Torah prohibits consumption of blood. Lev. 7:26-27; Lev. 17:10-14. This is the only dietary law that has a reason specified in Torah: we do not eat blood because the life of the animal is contained in the blood. This applies only to the blood of birds and mammals, not to fish blood. Thus, it is necessary to remove all blood from the flesh of kosher animals.

Separation of Meat and Dairy
On three separate occasions, the Torah tells us not to "boil a kid in its mother's milk." (Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26; Deut. 14:21). The Oral Torah explains that this passage prohibits eating meat and dairy together. The rabbis extended this prohibition to include not eating milk and poultry together. In addition, the Talmud prohibits cooking meat and fish together or serving them on the same plates, because it is considered to be unhealthy. It is, however, permissible to eat fish and dairy together, and it is quite common. It is also permissible to eat dairy and eggs together.

This separation includes not only the foods themselves, but the utensils, pots and pans with which they are cooked, the plates and flatware from which they are eaten, the dishwashers or dishpans in which they are cleaned, and the towels on which they are dried. A kosher household will have at least two sets of pots, pans and dishes: one for meat and one for dairy.

Note that even the smallest quantity of dairy (or meat) in something renders it entirely dairy (or meat) for purposes of kashrut. For example, most margarines are dairy for kosher purposes, because they contain a small quantity of whey or other dairy products to give it a dairy-like taste. Animal fat is considered meat for purposes of kashrut. You should read the ingredients very carefully, even if the product is kosher-certified.

Utensils (pots, pans, plates, flatware, etc., etc.) must also be kosher. A utensil picks up the kosher "status" (meat, dairy, pareve, or treyf) of the food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it, and transmits that status back to the next food that is cooked in it or eaten off of it. Thus, if you cook chicken soup in a saucepan, the pan becomes meat. If you thereafter use the same saucepan to heat up some warm milk, the fleishig status of the pan is transmitted to the milk, and the milchig status of the milk is transmitted to the pan, making both the pan and the milk a forbidden mixture.

Kosher status can be transmitted from the food to the utensil or from the utensil to the food only in the presence of heat, thus if you are eating cold food in a non-kosher establishment, the condition of the plates is not an issue. Likewise, you could use the same knife to slice cold cuts and cheese, as long as you clean it in between, but this is not really a recommended procedure, because it increases the likelihood of mistakes.

Stove tops and sinks routinely become non-kosher utensils, because they routinely come in contact with both meat and dairy in the presence of heat. It is necessary, therefore, to use dishpans when cleaning dishes (don't soak them directly in the sink) and to use separate spoon rests and trivets when putting things down on the stove top.

Grape Products
The restrictions on grape products derive from the laws against using products of idolatry. Wine was commonly used in the rituals of all ancient religions, and wine was routinely sanctified for pagan purposes while it was being processed. For this reason, use of wines and other grape products made by non-Jews was prohibited. (Whole grapes are not a problem, nor are whole grapes in fruit cocktail).

Relevance For Kids...

  1. Kids are used to all sorts of "eating" rules.
    What can you eat, not eat. When can you eat, not eat. Example: can you eat dessert before your meat?
  2. Discuss hygiene rules about food. (Wash your hands, prepare on clean surface, becareful of cross-contamination, cook thoroughly).
  3. What foods are "gross" to you?
  4. "Kosher" food laws are based on some Bible verses that basically instructed the Jews to "be different." In what other ways were the Jews asked to be different? (circumcision, following God's Law, who they could marry, etc etc)
  5. The Apostle Peter in Acts 10 receives a vision from the Holy Spirit that tells him that new Christians do not have to follow Jewish dietary/kosher rules in order to be Christians. It is a MAJOR POINT OF DEPARTURE in the early Christian movement. It was not a popular teaching among some of the Disciples and Jewish Christians.

God tells "the Church" that following Christ is more important than following the "traditions."

What traditions and rules do WE examine in our church to decide whether someone is a believer or not?

Come up with a list of "basic rules for being a Christian." (ie..if you don't do at least these things, you're probably not a Christian.)

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer


The following lyrics are easily sung to Amy Grant's "Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet" -found in numerous songbooks.

Peter will you go and spread my Word
Will you show the world I care,
Peter will you go and spread my Word
Will you show the world I care,

Verse 1:
Now the time is right,
to share my shining light,
Tell the world that I love them,

And I will be your guide,
I'll be by your side,
I'll be with you til the end....


Verse 2:
To the nations you will go,
My heart you will now show,
Tell the world that I love them,

And I will be your guide,
I'll be by your side,
I'll be with you til the end....


Peter lyrics by Neil. Have fun.

If you can't catch the phrasing, maybe these examples will help. Amy's lyrics in parentheses:

Pe-ter -will you go and spread my word
(Thy Word -is a lamp unto my feet)

Will you show -the world you care
(And a lamp -unto my feet)

To the nations you will go
(and when I feel afraid,)

my heart -you will now show
(And think -I've lost my way.)

Tell -the world -that I love them,
(Still -you're there -right beside me.)

Nothing -will I fear
(And I -will be your guide)

As long as You are near;
(I'll be right beside)

Please -be near me to the end.
(I'll -be with you to the end.)

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

"Acts", DVD by Thomas Nelson

Description: Journey with the physician Luke (Dean Jones) as he tells the enthralling story of danger, struggles and triumph that marks the birth of the Christian church. Share the times of mystery and wonder that follow the resurrection of Jesus. Walk with the risen Lord. Watch as He is taken up into heaven. Experience the transforming power of Pentecost and catch fire as God uses the passion of Peter (James Brolin) and John (Andre' Jacobs) to send the flame of faith racing throughout Jerusalem and around the world. Luke's poweful narrative brings to vivid life the compassionate love that unites belivers across the ages. Total running time is 183 minutes.

Lesson Planning

DVD #1

  • Event 35-40 "Peter Preaches to the Gentiles" (last section of Chapter 10)
  • Event #36 - Cornelius Sends for Peter
Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Art Workshop Idea for Peter's Vision of the Animals...

There is a Mexican Indian art called Huichol Yarn painting.

The Huichol Indians used beeswax heated in the sun as a "glue" and then made a design with yarns pressed into the beeswax. Using good old white glue would work.

The kids could make animal designs (Huichol yarn painting traditionally had lots of animals). They could even make their animals kind of scary looking and talk about what was Peter afraid of and how he acted even though afraid.

This is a story about accepting others who are "different", who the rulemakers said were not part of our group.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Art / Drama Idea

Years ago -- way back before I'd ever heard of rotation model, I did a project with first graders. After hearing the story of Peter's vision, we recreated the vision. Using a large white sheet, we used fabric markers to draw and color all the animals. (regular markers would work if you don't plan to launder it -- depending on age, you could even use blue spray paint or sponges to create a cloud-like effect). When done, we re-enacted the story with several of the kids holding onto the sheet and having it descend on "Peter." As I recall we even filled the sheet with stuffed animals! When we were done, we hung the sheet from the ceiling. We wrote our memory verse on large pieces of paper and put it on the ceiling, too, going around the edges of the sheet.

Have fun!


Last edited by Luanne Payne

Video Idea

We are using a video "Friends and Heroes - #2" for the story of Peter and Cornelius. It has a great message about God's love being for everyone.

There are at least 12 videos in this set and they have great Bible story/application lessons.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

"The Swiffer and Dutiful Serving Spoon"

(The story of Cornelius & Peter)

Script for Object Theatre Workshop, Cornelius & Peter Rotation, adapted from the New Jerusalem Bible © 2004, LD McKenzie.

Narrator, Kitchen implements (serving spoon, potato peelers, garlic press & whisk), Cleaning implements (Swiffer, sponge, brillo pads, asstd dusters & squeegies).


  • Assorted implements from groups above
  • A sheet or small blanket
  • A few stuffed animals

Narr: Once there was noble Swiffer. He ran a good house and made sure all the other cleaning tools in it — like sponges, scouring pads and scrub brushes — worshipped God.

One day the Swiffer had a dream in which he distinctly saw an angel of God come into his house.

Angel: Swiffer!

Swiffer: What???!!!

Angel: God has heard your prayers. Send some cleaning tools to Jaffa to find a dutiful serving spoon called Simon Peter. Right now he’s in the kitchen at the house of Simon the tanner.

Narr: Then the angel left. The Swiffer rounded up a sponge and a couple of Brillo pads and sent them off to Jaffa.

Meanwhile over in Jaffa, the dutiful serving spoon hopped up to the housetop to pray. There he had a dream.

In the dream he saw a big sheet that looked a little bit like a flying carpet and a little bit like a boat being lowered to earth from heaven. The sheet was full of all kinds of animals and lizards and birds.

Then a scary voice said: Serving spoon. Dish up!

SS: Oh my gosh. I can’t do that. I don’t even like this kind of food. And look at these cute little animals. I would never dish them up. I could almost hurl just thinking about it.

Voice: Oh come on, Serving Spoon. It’s just a dream. Think about it. I’m only going to tell you one more time: Dish up!

SS: Sorry, no way.

Voice: Okay. Just once more and this time I really mean it: Dish up!

Narr: Then the sheet was taken back up to heaven. Serving Spoon was still a bit shaken up when he heard a knock at the door.
Cleaning tools: Hullo? Anybody home?

SS (to self): I bet this is what my silly dream was about.

SS (to visiting tools): Hey there. I think I’m the one you’re looking for. What can I do for you?

Cleaning tools: Well, our pal is a really terrific Swiffer, and he asked us to come and get you and bring us back to our house. What do you say? Will you come?

SS: Sure. (to self: That voice really did a number on my head!)

Narr: So Serving Spoon rounded up a few buddies — a potato peeler, a garlic press and a whisk — went back with the visiting sponge and brillo pads. When they got to Swiffer’s house, Swiffer and many other cleaning tools were waiting for him and were very pleased to see him.

Serving Spoon: Hey there. Nice to meet you. But there’s just one thing. It’s a bit weird for kitchen tools to get together with cleaning tools like this, you know. I mean, it’s really not done. The main reason that I came is that just before your friends arrived I had this wacky dream about all these animals in a sheet...

Swiffer: Oh wow. That’s wild. I had a wacky dream too.

Narr: Then Serving Spoon talked to the cleaning tools for quite a long time about God. As well he told lots of stories about an incredible gold-plated carving knife called Jesus.

After that they all had a big supper together, where the kitchen tools cooked and the cleaning tools tidied up. It was such an extremely good party it was talked about for many years afterward.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Cooking Workshop Recipe

Posted by member brittany, 2009

Here's a recipe that we included in our "Peter and Cornelius" Unit. Since the theme was "suprises" I found a recipe for "Cinnamon-Marshmallow Surprises" that was perfect. Also a good discussion promoter for looking for things inside a person, or inside God's word, or inside the story instead of what's on the outside.

Cinnamon-Marshmallow Surprises
From the "Cookin' Up Country Breakfasts Cookbook"

These muffins are a surprise because no one can guess what makes them so good and gooey. Around our house they disappear quickly, so I often make a double batch.


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tube (10 ounces) refrigerated biscuits
  • 10 large marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Prep 15 min.
Cook 15 min.
Total 30 min.

Combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Flatten biscuits. Roll marshmallows in butter and then in cinnamon-sugar. place one marshmallow on top of each biscuit; wrap biscuit around marshmallows and pinch seams. Place seam side down on greased muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 10 servings.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Video Ideas - Peter's Vision

DVD - "The Lion of Judah" (The Lamb that Saved the World), Warner Home Entertainment, 0883929201976.  Note:  this story is told from the animals viewpoint.

START at 23:37 (Raven Alley) - to get there back track from Scene 4 (29:54) Boss' Dream. 

END at the start (32:54) or end of song "Carry Me" sung by Kari Jobe.

Video Study Guide link at his site.  There is a downloadable PDF of guide at very end. 

    Sections of Study Guide you may find useful are:

  • Storyline & Character Bios - Boss (Raven) & Monty (Horse)
  • Key Words - Cleansing, Kosher, Sacrifice (Sacrificial Lamb), and Unclean.
  • Scripture References - several related to above key words.
  • Quiz Questions
    Raven Alley #22-#24
    - Boss' Dream (Scene 4) #25-#29
    - Birth of The King #30-#32
  • Games - "The Unclean's Game" and the "Raven Game".


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Video Clip - Baptism of Cornelius and his Family

"The Bible" (2013, the one by Roma Downey)

Episode 10: "Courage" covers the resurrection and several scenes from the Book of Acts, including very moving section featuring the baptism of Cornelius and his family by Peter.  Show the minute or so before the story where Peter and Jesus talk (in prayer). After the baptism, let the video roll for about a minute after the baptism to see Peter taking the Gospel to others.


Supporting Members can read the Teaching Outlines to the Episodes in this series <HERE>


Images (1)
  • Peter-Cornelius-THEBIBLEmovie
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Lifeway's "Gospel Project" posted a free video on YouTube of their four-minute animated retelling of the story of Peter's rooftop vision and visit to baptize Cornelius. 

Y'all see the craft and drama project in this video?  
A "lunch bag drama"! 

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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