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.Acts 10:34-43
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.”
In this summary from Peter we have additional information about Jesus’ life and ministry before the cross than we have had before in Peter’s previous sermons. That is likely because Peter is filling in information for these Gentiles that was already clearly known to the Jews who witnessed the events. He gave a well rounded summary of the stages of Jesus’ ministry. Not only that but Peter sets his statements in the light of the bigger picture. I.e. The Good News bringing peace with God. Here in a nutshell are the important phases of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Peter begins it with John’s baptism, the ministry in Galilee etc. But quickly moves to the pivotal big three – death by crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Following that Peter makes it clear that the purpose of all of this was to fulfil prophecy so that forgiveness of sins may come to ALL who believe in Him. I have written about these nutshell summaries before. Look at Bible Gems 151 to 158 where I wrote about the Gospel in a Nutshell for Romans 3:21-26. We are frequently given these short, punchy, pithy summaries of huge importance by both Peter and Paul.
Remember back in Gem 1549 where I included Paul’s statement about the importance of the cross of Christ. Paul said we preach Christ crucified and he wouldn’t want to adulterate it with anything else or less than that. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is of mammoth importance. Without these big three: Jesus’ death burial and resurrection – Paul tells us our belief is futile and we are still in our sins (1 Cor 15:14 – but don’t just read this verse alone, read the whole chapter. Then you will see how foundational this is to Christianity. Without Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection any Christian doctrine is nonsense. All Christian teaching is premised on these three events, especially the last one. The first two are given but the last (the resurrection) gives perspective and purpose to it all. That is why Paul says he preaches Jesus Christ crucified. What he meant by that was Jesus death, burial and resurrection. Christ crucified covers all three, they come in a package. Without all three we wouldn’t have bold disciples who changed the world – in the first century or in this century. The foundation of Christianity is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
In saying that I want to draw your attention to what Peter draws our attention to. Peter testifies to the fact that “They put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross, but God raised Him to life on the third day. Note that it was death by crucifixion, the worst and most horrific death that mankind have ever conceived of. Peter and the disciples were bearing testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ died the most horrible of deaths – highly shameful, grossly violent and horrifically painful. I missed writing about this at the most appropriate time by about a month. We have just experienced Easter once again when we think of the cross. But I want to draw your attention to some aspects of what we know so well. We have the cross ever before us. Many Christians wear it around our neck, or have it on the wall, well decorated and symbolic. We put it on cards, bookmarks and other Christian marketing paraphernalia. It is always prissy, perfect and well presented. But it wasn’t like that in reality. The Roman cross was violent, stark and stained with blood. I know you have only just heard about all this a month ago. But allow me to tell you again.
Jesus was stripped naked, tied to a post and scourged. In other words He was lashed more than 40 times (the Jewish limit was 39, the Roman scourging was limitless). His flesh was ripped from his back. Then he was taken to Herod stripped and put in a purple robe and mocked and beaten some more. After that He was mocked and spat on by Roman soldiers as they took the purple royal robe from Him and mocked and beat Him some more – all of them. Following that he carried his own cross toward the place where He was to be crucified, but he only managed a short distance of carrying His own cross beam whereupon Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it for Him. On reaching Golgotha, the place of the skull, He was CRUCIFIED naked while the soldiers gambled for His clothes. After all of the scourging, beatings, spitting, mocking and ridicule multiple times He was subject to the worst death imaginable. This was the PAYMENT for YOUR SALVATION. Don’t ever take it lightly.
Peter is reminding us of the length, breadth and significance of what Christ did for us. Don’t ever trivialise it but reducing the cross to a cheap, gold ornament. Yes I know the significance of the collocational clash between “cheap” and “gold”. I wrote it deliberately because that is what gold is compared with the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my LORD.
The Good News of the Gospel is that the Glorious Creator of the Universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and Himself so that we may find everlasting joy in living the life God intended.Ian Vail
Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. The cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity.Ravi Zacharias
The Gospel offers forgiveness for the past, new life for the present, and hope for the future.Anon
If in preaching the gospel you substitute your knowledge of the way of salvation for confidence in the power of the gospel, you hinder people from getting to reality.Oswald Chambers
When the Christian faith becomes defined by who we are and what we do and not by who Christ is and what He did for us, we miss the gospel – and we, ironically, become more disobedient.Tertullian
That is why Peter keeps reminding us over and over that the early disciples were witnesses to these things. So too are we to our generation.Ian Vail
God’s plan for enlarging His kingdom is so simple – one person telling another about the Savior. Yet we’re busy and full of excuses. Someone’s eternal destiny is at stake.Charles Stanley