Summary: EPIPHANY 1(C) - God anoints Jesus of Nazareth as Lord of all so that He can provide GRACE for all and PEACE for all.

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ACTS 10:34-38 JANUARY 12, 2003

ACTS 10:34-38

34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 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.

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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:

What was the greatest struggle that Jesus faced in His ministry? There was one struggle that He faced over and over again. Although He didn’t make much mention of it, it was always there. That struggle is pointed out today at His baptism. As Jesus went around preaching, teaching and doing good, the people saw Him like any other ordinary human being. They recognized Him very easily as the son of Mary and Joseph. They knew He was the carpenter’s son, they knew He came from Nazareth. What they didn’t always want to recognize, and what they could not always believe and understand, was the fact that He was also God’s very own Son.

Even His disciples, you may remember, as they crossed the Sea of Galilee, a storm came up. Jesus lay sleeping and they were concerned. Jesus wakes up and calms the storm. The disciples still ask, ‘And who is this man that even the winds and the waves obey him?’ So, through Jesus’ whole ministry, there was a struggle between being recognized as God’s Son or only seen as the son of man. It happened that even those who did not believe became those who understood who Jesus really was. One of those examples was when Jesus hung on the cross. The centurion stood there, heard His cry and saw how He died. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"(MARK 15:39).

On this first Sunday after Epiphany, also known as the Baptism of Jesus, we examine the words of our text as they tell us that the Lord our God anointed Jesus of Nazareth as Lord of all. What does that mean? It means that there is

I. Grace for all people

II. Peace for all people

We want to look at these words before us then, with the theme that the Lord God anointed Jesus of Nazareth Lord of all and He gives us first of all—

I. Grace for all people

There is a long introduction to our text this morning, so today when you go home, when you have time, it would be good to take a look at chapter 10 in Acts and read all of it. Just a quick summary—this is a speech of Peter in the house of Cornelius. Peter was raised in the Jewish tradition and customs of the day. He always followed ‘to a T’ the letter of the law. One time, God gave him a vision that there was no longer to be such a big concern about those things that were clean and unclean. That was difficult for Peter. He spent his life only eating those things, which were clean, and avoiding all of the unclean things. About the same time a vision was given to a Gentile, Cornelius. Cornelius was told to send for Peter, and he did. The messengers come to Peter and asked him to come over to see Cornelius, and he does. He’s still struggling with the fact that he’s going to talk to Cornelius, a Gentile, an unbeliever, one who is unclean, yet he comes to the house. Then our text begins. Now Peter’s eyes are opened. Three times the Lord had told him not to be so concerned about that which is clean and unclean. Peter wrestled with that and was beginning to understand that. Now as he walked to the house of Cornelius, and as he was ready to enter there, it became clear to him what God meant. He says: Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism. Peter had felt important because he was a chosen child of God. He realized now that as he was going to step across the threshold of an ‘unclean, unbeliever, a Gentile,’ that God also has great plans for them…and He doesn’t show favoritism, He doesn’t just choose the children of Israel to believe. Now Peter begin to understand fully to really believe with his heart what God had tried to show him that there is no ‘clean or unclean’. God’s grace is meant for all people.

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