BIBLE INSIGHTS in 500 words
JESUS: God’s Promise and Plan
Peter, a Jew and disciple of Jesus, tells the story of Jesus to a group of Roman/Gentiles. What is the meaning of the story? In a sentence:
The story of Jesus is the story of God actions:
God was in Christ fulfilling his promise to Israel and
implementing his plan to restore the World.
Peter tells the story and the Spirit comes. This moment fulfills the commission in Acts 1:8, “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (see Acts 1:8).
- The Spirit comes to believers in Jerusalem (Acts 2)…
- The Spirit comes to believers in Samaria (Acts 8)…
- Now, the Spirit comes to Gentiles (Acts 10)…
…who fill the “ends of the earth.” Jesus opens the world to God’s invitation. Why was the story about Jesus meaningful to a group of Roman/Gentiles?
First, the message calls us to a new perspective and loyalty. The name of Jesus has the power to change us.
Second, the message is a personal invitation. Peter is saying in effect, “Through Jesus Christ, you are included in the promise and plan of God.”
Third, the message is about God (John 1:14, 18). Look at God’s actions in Peter’s sermon (vs. 36-43)
1-God sent the message of peace. Jesus announced God’s Kingdom despite nationalistic expectations of armed revolution. Jesus declared that God’s kingdom was a kingdom of peace (Luke 10:5–6; 19:42).
2-God anointed Jesus. The word “anointed” is the word Messiah/Christ. God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit to be the King no one expected.
3-God was with Jesus. This is a promise that goes back into Israel’s history (Exodus 3:12: Joshua 1:9; Judges 6:12, 16: 1 Samuel 10:7). God’s call and God’s presence are intertwined (John 10:38).
4-God raised Jesus from death to life. Jesus died with the sign on the cross that declared him “King of the Jews.” Jesus rose on Easter as King of the world.
5-God chose us to be witnesses for Jesus. God’s image has been restored in us, and like a mirror, we are to reflect worship to God and witness in the world.
6-God ordained Jesus as the world’s judge. In a world of bad judgment, Christ, the King, dispenses good judgment on the living and the dead.
This is Peter’s message for us: Through Jesus,
- God has set the world right again.
- God has fulfilled his promises to Israel, but more,
- God has initiated his plan to include the whole world
And, my friend, WE ARE INCLUDED in the invitation to enter God’s family.
- We are welcomed into God’s family through God’s love,
- We are received into God’s family through forgiveness, and
- We are at home in God’s family through the acceptance of the church.
Therefore, let us learn Peter’s lesson,
“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”