Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
During the season of Easter churches traditionally replace the Old Testament reading with a reading from Acts. This week, in Acts 10:34-43, we find Peter explaining the good news of Jesus to the household of Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Peter’s explanation of the Gospel here, as he visits a Gentile household, shows clearly that Jesus’ forgiveness is available to Gentiles also, not only Jews. This was an enormous claim, as the Jews were always considered the people of God. However, by faith, people from every nation could be adopted as part of God’s people.
In modern evangelistic efforts, especially in the Western world, it is common to focus on the story of how Jesus makes people feel. There are highly emotional appeals. There are claims that Jesus will fix all the things that are wrong in our lives. These ideas stand in stark conflict to the biblical account. Peter’s claims are focused on what Jesus did. Jesus provides peace, he heals people, he is killed according to the Scriptures, he is raised from the dead, he appears to his disciples, he sends them to proclaim the good news. This good news, further, is that Jesus is going to be the judge of the living and the dead.
In short, the claims of the Gospel found in this passage from Acts are that Jesus has done all that is necessary for the salvation of a world that is separated from God, hostile toward him, and has no hope of reconciliation. Jesus, Lord of all, has redeemed his people from death and destruction. That is very good news. It’s certainly the news we need to hear. Each one of us needs the adoption provided in Christ. And it is ours for the asking. Thanks be to God.
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