Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favouritism. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we apostles are witnesses of all He did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross, but God raised Him to life on the third day. Then God allowed Him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be His witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of all—the living and the dead. He is the One all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His name.”Acts 10:34-43
Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on My servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through Him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and His prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed Him to a cross and killed Him. But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip.
King David said this about Him: ‘I see that the LORD is always with Me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside Me. No wonder My heart is glad, and My tongue shouts His praises! My body rests in hope. For You will not leave My soul among the dead or allow Your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown Me the way of life, and You will fill Me with the joy of Your presence.’
“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and His tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on His throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave Him among the dead or allow His body to rot in the grave. “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now He is exalted to the place of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as He had promised, gave Him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honour at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.”‘
“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” . . . Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”Acts 2:14-39
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to His servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release Him. You rejected this holy, righteous One and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact! “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes. “Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that He must suffer these things.
Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything He tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’
“Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today.You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up His servant, Jesus, He sent Him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”Acts 3:12-26
I think just by reading the above passages and taking careful note of the pieces I have highlighted you will see the differences and the similarities. My problem with this passage is that it is one of those sections that I would love to comment on everything. Almost everything within it is worthy of comment and careful analysis. But I know not all of you tick that way. Probably the majority of you want me to move through these Gems more quickly and just comment on the high points – the true Gems! But to me there are true Gems everywhere. MY MIDNIGHT FRIEND printed out all of the Gems for Luke’s Gospel and took a photo. There is a stack of paper “a mile high” (an exaggeration) weighing 7 kg. Just for Luke’s Gospel. Some of you want me to comment on more things. Mike was disappointed that I didn’t comment on one thing in particular in the Luke series. I can’t comment on it all. There is just too much. The Word of God is just too deep. John had it right when he left us with his parting verse “Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.” Oh that is so true. As my Greek professor always used to say, “There is always more”.
Did you notice the similarities which give us the standard Christian package in presenting the Gospel. The overall elements are:
- The Gospel of Peace through Jesus Christ
- The Lordship of Jesus Christ
- The Repentance of sins through Jesus Christ
- The Humanity of Jesus Christ
- The Deity of Jesus Christ
- The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
- The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
- The Appearance of Jesus Christ
- Jesus Christ as the Universal Judge
It reads like a church catechism doesn’t? By including Jesus Christ in every line it could be a doctrinal list or the key statements of faith and belief. I have included both elements of Jesus Christ not because Jesus’ last name is Christ. Rather because Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One who was predicted to appear from long ago. Peter makes that clear in his address to those gathering at Pentecost and all other occasions he talked to Jews. This is clearly Jewish Good News. This good news came from the Jews, for the Jews, of the Jews and by the Jews. Now it reads like a political statement. Men are political, God is not. God made sure that the essential truth was passed on to us. Initially it was passed on to the Jews, but that ultimately the Good News was passed on to us Gentiles too.
Notice how Peter’s statements up until the meeting with Cornelius’ household are very Jewish. The us and you are very Jewish. This is Jewish Good News for Jews. I have coloured the occurrences in purple to denote the royal line. But there was always a Gentile strand. That is true right from the beginning of the Bible. God always planned that through Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed. In what Peter said to Cornelius’ household there has been a subtle change. Take note:
Jesus Christ (the Lord and Christ) of the Jews (2:36) has become the Lord of all (10:36)
Peter abandons the detail of Jesus fulfilling Jewish prophecy and presents Him as the universal Judge over all.
Now the Gospel is clearly for everyone, everywhere who simply believes through faith in Jesus the One appointed by God as judge of all – living and dead.
You can’t get more universal than that!
Peter starts by saying “I see very clearly that God shows no favouritism. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right.
This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
It is already time for me to stop because this Gems has grow larger than intended. That is what all this important detail does to you. I will give you time to ponder on all of this before we move on. But suffice to say Peter has just packaged the Gospel for Cornelius’ household – for Gentiles not for Jews. He told them, and us, that he saw clearly that God shows no favouritism. In doing that he uses an interesting word – [aletheia] literally truth, truly, in accordance with truth. But we could also say “in reality”. It is like the light has dawned on this Jewish preacher and he has seen for the first time that non-Jews (Gentiles) are to be included. Perhaps he was given a revelation by God that the entire body of Jewish writings pointed to a time when the Gentiles would be included – that all this was prepared in advance. That is a shocking revelation for a Jew. The term “I see very clearly” or “perceive” is powerful. It is expressed in the simple progressive present – I am seeing more and more. . . I am getting a firm grasp of this new truth which is actually an old reality. Literally we are told:
And opening his mouth, Peter said, Truly I see that God is not a respecter of faces, but in every nation the one fearing Him and working righteousness is acceptable to Him.Acts 10:34-35
Peter opens up to Cornelius and his household and tells them something no Jew would normally confess about the Jewish writings. That God accepts people from all nations. He confesses that this thought is growing on him with ever increasing certainty. My my Peter, something has happened to you.
It is more appropriate to say Christ’s global cause has a Church than to say Christ’s Church has a global cause.David Bryant
The noblest thing a man can do is, just humbly receive, and then go amongst all people and give.David Livingstone
God’s plan for enlarging His kingdom is so simple – one person telling another about the Saviour. Yet we’re busy and full of excuses. Someone’s eternal destiny is at stake.Charles Stanley
We cannot have the fruits of the gospel without its roots.Joseph Wirthlin
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.Jesus
All roads lead to the judgment seat of Christ.Keith Green