I have come to that place where Frank Retief in his latest book, God said “YES”, uses his last chapter (9) to reflect upon the ministry, especially his at St. James Church Kenilworth in the Western Cape. In speaking of lessons learnt, he says (and I use my words) that for the congregation to believe the message the preacher is bringing, he himself needs to believe it first. Peter believed the message he was bringing to Cornelius and the large group he invited to hear Peter. When he advised the Early Church that it was necessary to replace Judas Iscariot, we read the following:
Ac 1:15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.” … “”May another take his place of leadership.’ 21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
Not only was the qualifications for a replacement “apostle” presented to the Church, the implied message that needs to be spoken was include in verse 22. Peter remained true to this because he believed this! Look at how he proceeds to the gathering of Gentiles:
Ac 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout 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. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
1) An awareness:
Ac 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee.
It is interesting how Peter uses “You know”, in two successive verses. You know the message God sent to Israel and you know what happened in Judea. Peter starts with God’s Word to Israel as His people under the Old Covenant. He them moves to the Word of God in the Gospel in the New Covenant. Peter shows that he is aware that the Lord Jesus’ ministry is the fulfilment of the promised Messiah. As you read the Old and New Testaments carefully you will soon see that the Old leads into the New. This means the “religion” is the same. The Old Covenant required animals be sacrificed as substitutes for sin. This practice was stopped under the New Covenant with Jesus sacrificing Himself as a final substitute for all who believed in what He did at Calvary. Always remember that the Old leads into the New, which fulfils the Old. The religion of the Old is the religion of the New. It is the same God with the same story of the same Messiah.
2) An interesting theological twist.
Ac 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Perhaps the point above will become clearer under this point.
(1) The first theological twist is that the “good news” is not peace in a military sense. It does not even refer to having peace within a family or amongst neighbors. The word “peace” here means “reconciliation” with God. Jesus Christ is Messiah who secures peace with God for believing man. Look at one of the titles and functions of the Lord Jesus:
Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
He is the Prince of Peace and as such is the only one who is able to provide peace with the Father.
Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
It is vitally important to note that unless one has Jesus in their life, there is no peace with God at all. We are surrounded by sincere, loving and moral people, but outside of Jesus, all their goodness amounts to nothing because only faith in Jesus’ goodness at the Cross is able to secure God’s favor which ushers in peace with God.
(2) The second theological twist is that this Jesus, who brings peace between believing man and God is Lord of all. Not only does Peter believe that Jesus is God, he wants Cornelius and his guests to believe it. Miss this point and one is ruined theologically. Many call their “god or gods” lord and some Christians might even misunderstand the composition of the Godhead thinking there is the Lord Jesus and then there is God. We need to go back to John chapter 1 to find that Jesus is God incarnate. This means that Jesus is God and therefore may be addressed as LORD which is God’s name translated from Jehovah which in turn comes from Yahweh! So when we read Jesus is “Lord of all” we understand that Jesus is God who is Lord over all the earth, the vast creation and heaven … including any other place there might be! Another way to say Jesus is Lord of all is to say He is Almighty, Sovereign God. Consider this teaching coming from:
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Beloved, each time you say Lord Jesus or Jesus is Lord you are acknowledging that He is the One, True, Living God who dwells in heaven and has supreme authority over all creation.
Thank You, O God, that You have revealed Yourself to us in a way we may easily understand. Amen.