Sermon on Acts 10:34-38
Text: Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached — 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
We often call our Savior “Jesus Christ.” In reality, however, only one of those two words is his name and that is “Jesus.” This was the name that the angel told Joseph to name the child that Mary was carrying. The word “Christ” really refers to one of his titles. The words “Christ” or “Messiah” means “Anointed One.” This goes back to a practice from the Old Testament. Whenever someone was set aside for a particular office, they would be anointed. Aaron was anointed to be the first high priest. David was anointed to be the king of Israel. Jesus was also anointed. He was the Christ, the Anointed One. GOD ANOINTED JESUS OF NARARETH 1. With The Holy Spirit And With Power 2. To Heal All Who Were Under The Power Of The Devil and 3. To Proclaim Peace To All Nations.
Normally, when a person was anointed, it was done through the pouring of oil on their head. This marked them as the anointed one. However, when Jesus was anointed it was not by means of oil. Peter said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” (Verse 38) This took place at Jesus’ baptism. We read in Matthew 3:16, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” By means of the dove, the Holy Spirit visibly anointed Jesus. The Father lends his voice to this occasion as he said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) There was to be no mistake as to whom Jesus of Nazareth was. He would be different from all the others who had been anointed over the centuries. Jesus was declared to be the “Christ.”
The reason this event in Jesus’ life is so significant is the fact that this was his entrance into the public ministry. Prior to this, he had lived his life quietly in the village of Nazareth. It’s likely that he followed in Joseph’s footsteps and was a carpenter. Now, however, he would step from the shadows. He would begin his ministry to the people.
When a person was anointed in the Old Testament, it signified that they had a role to carry out. You would be anointed to be a prophet, a priest, or a king. Now, they would begin to carry out the task to which they had been anointed. Peter also tells us of the role that the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, carried out. He spoke of the fact that Jesus “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.” (Verse 38) When you read the gospels, you see so many instances of Jesus doing this. Think of all of the miracles that Jesus performed to help people. Jesus healed the crippled and the sick, cleansed the lepers and raised the dead. Because these people lived in a world that was ruined by the entrance of sin into the world, they fell prey to its devastating effects. Through his miracles, Jesus healed these people. We, also, read of the times that Jesus cast demons from people. These evil angels inhabited the people, tormenting them day and night. Through his almighty power, Jesus set these people free. It was obvious to all who observed Jesus that he was healing those who were under the power of the devil.
What was not so obvious to the human eye was that Jesus came to heal all who were under the power of the devil because of their sins. This was not just for the people of Jesus’ day, but for people of all time. You and I are included in that group. By nature, we are born slaves of the devil. We have no choice but to follow our master’s will. Paul writes of this slavery in Romans 8:7, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” We had no ability to keep God’s will for our lives. We see pockets this every day of our lives. We sin against our God by the things that we say, the things that we do, the evil thoughts that we entertain, and the sinful attitudes that we display. Because we were under the power of the devil, we would have been eternally punished by our God.
However, Jesus came to heal us, who were under the power of the devil. He did so by being perfect in our place. As you read through the gospels, you see that, in every instance, Jesus perfectly followed his Father’s will. Though we have very little recorded about Jesus’ life before his baptism, we know that he was doing this, because the Father said of him at his baptism, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) This is more than just a father’s love for his child. This is the perfect Father placing his seal of approval on everything that Jesus did until that point. Jesus, then, took that perfect life and sacrificed it on the cross. His blood was the only cure for our fatal disease of sin. Jesus, willingly, poured out that blood as he suffered and died. We know that the cure was successful, because he said, “It is finished.” By his resurrection, we have the assurance that we have been forgiven. The Holy Spirit brought this life giving medicine to us when he brought us to faith. Because of our Great Physician, we have been healed. Though we once were under the power of the devil, we have been set free. We are free to serve our God with all of our lives; thanking him for all that he has done for us. Jesus has carried out his role as the Christ by healing us.
There is great significance to the words that Peter spoke, which we are studying. To help us understand this, we need a bit of background. Peter was in the city of Joppa, on the Mediterranean coast. While there, a Roman centurion by the name of Cornelius received a vison from God, telling him to send men to Joppa to get Peter, who would teach them more about Jesus. The men went to find Peter, who agreed to go with them to Cornelius’ house. As Peter addressed the crowd, he remarked, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) After speaking with them, Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Verses 34&35) Although Peter was well aware of the promise that God made to Abraham that one day one of his descendants would be a blessing for all nations, God used a vision that was given to him in Joppa and this encounter to convince Peter that salvation belongs to all nations.
This was the essence of what the Christ came to do. Peter said in verse 36, “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” Jesus came, announcing peace between God and humanity that he was bringing about. This was the peace that the angels sang about the night that Jesus was born. Through his work, Jesus brought about this peace. There is peace in knowing that sins are forgiven. There is peace in knowing that God loves and provides for his own. There is the peace of knowing that, when God’s children leave this life, they will spend their eternity with him. This is the peace that Jesus, the Christ, came to announce. He didn’t come to announce to only some based on their external appearance, nationality, wealth, social status, or achievements. This message of peace is for all people because, as Peter said, he is “Lord of all.”
This message of peace was proclaimed by his apostles after Jesus ascended into heaven. They were acting as his spokesmen, telling as many people as possible about what Jesus had done for them. This message of peace has been handed down from generation to generations of Christians. By God’s grace, this message of peace was proclaimed to us. We are at peace with God because the Christ came to set us free.
Now, God gives us the special privilege of proclaiming this message of peace to others. There are a number of ways that we get to do this. One of them is through our mission offerings. These offerings don’t just go into some dark hole. They are used to support missionaries, both in the United States and around the world, who go to proclaim this message of peace in places where we are not able to go. May God help us to see the importance of these offerings. We, also, support our missionaries through our prayers, as we ask God to bless their work and to keep them safe. This is, ultimately, the peace that our world needs to hear.
God also gives us the privilege of sharing this message of peace with those around us. Who do we know that is undergoing troubles in their lives? Perhaps, they are struggling with a troubled conscience. We can tell them of the peace that Jesus brought about through his saving work. Their sins are forgiven. Perhaps, they are going through some sort of struggle in their lives. We can do more than just tell them that everything will be OK. We can remind them of the peace that comes from a loving God who cares what’s going on in their lives and has promised that he will make everything work out for their good. Perhaps, someone is feeling lonely and unloved. We can share with them the message of peace that there is always one who is always with them and loves them with a love that has no end. This message of peace that Jesus brought about is our privilege to share.
Once, as Jesus was speaking with his disciples, he asked them what the prevailing thoughts were as to who Jesus was. After hearing some of the opinions, Jesus asked them who they said he was. Peter answered these beautiful words, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) By the grace of God, Peter had come to know the truth about who Jesus was. He was the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. We thank God for revealing this truth to us, as well. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the one who was promised from eternity, to rescue the world from their sins. We praise Jesus, the Christ, for carrying out his role and healing us from the fatal disease of our sins and for proclaiming peace to us. May this message of healing and peace be spread throughout the world. Jesus Christ is the Savior of all. Amen.
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