May 26, 2012

Acts 10:42-44 “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. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

Once again, Peter is focused on Jesus. The world would be a very different place if every preacher, every evangelist had that focus! It is important to note that Peter really only stated the facts of the Gospel, and didn’t really “give an invitation” as such. These people were primed to receive, because they had all heard of the angelic visitation that Cornelius had experienced, so they just needed to know what to do. When Peter said, “Believe in Jesus,” that’s exactly what they did! The Japanese has a nuance that is missing from the NIV, and that is where the NIV says “all who heard the message.” In Japanese it says, “all who turned their ears to listen to the Word.” There’s a world of difference between hearing with our physical ears and hearing with our wills, our hearts. These people received the Word of Truth that came from Peter’s lips, and it transformed them. Peter’s only mention of the Holy Spirit had been to say that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, (verse 38) but these people’s surrender to Jesus was complete enough that they received all He wanted to give them. We have a lot to learn from both Peter and his audience here!

I’ve never gotten to preach to a group that had been prepared by an angelic visitation, but that’s no excuse for failing to keep the focus on Jesus. Like Paul, I need to “resolve to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2) It’s not that I’m to say nothing else, it’s that I’m to relate everything to Jesus, because otherwise there is no foundation for anything I might say. There’s a reason John 3:16 is so famous! It is absolutely pivotal that “God loved the world so much that He have His only Son.” I can talk myself blue in the face, but if I don’t get that foundational truth through, it’s just empty words. Anyone who is totally convinced of that glorious reality will be open to receive anything else God might want to pour onto, into, and through them, just as the people in this passage were.

Father, thank You for realigning my thinking. Like a car, I tend to drift out of alignment over time! Help me indeed focus fully on Jesus, in the pulpit and out of it, so that all whose hearts are ready may receive and believe, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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