By Brooke Holt
“As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” Acts 10:36-41
If you have ever experienced the death of someone you love, you know how precious the last conversations with that person are. You ponder every word and often cherish them. Perhaps that special person spoke those words from a death bed, in a last conversation, or during a significant conversation. I have replayed some of the last words I shared with a dear friend who was killed in a car accident. That conversation kept me going during difficult days, almost as if my friend knew what I needed to hear before she was taken from us.
The disciples also treasured their last conversation with Jesus before he ascended to the Father. In this last conversation, Jesus gave them clear instructions on continuing his mission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Notice that Jesus did not say go only to Jewish nations or only baptize those who are of Jewish descent. Instead, he commissioned them to make disciples of all nations.
In this passage from Acts, Peter is fulfilling that mission. At this point, he is preaching to a group of Gentiles gathered in the home of Cornelius. Peter did not expect to be sharing with the Gentiles, yet Peter took his commission seriously. If God told him to go, who was he to disobey?
Here, Peter preached a brief yet complete version of the Gospel. Jesus was sent by God, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power so that he went about teaching, healing, and even freeing those oppressed by the devil. Peter and all the disciples were eyewitnesses to these good works of Jesus. Jesus was put to death by crucifixion then raised up on the third day. And Peter and the other disciples saw the resurrected Jesus with their very own eyes. They talked with him, shared meals with him, and then Jesus sent them out to be his witnesses.
In each of these occurrences, Jesus demonstrated he was the Son of God, the Messiah, and the one who is now Lord of all. Lord of the Jews and Gentiles, Lord of men and women, slave and free. This salvific work of Jesus was not just for Peter, the disciples, or the nation of Israel but for Cornelius and all who were gathered that day. Jesus died and rose again that they may have salvation through his name.
This message is also for you. Do you know that Jesus is Lord of all? Have you received him as your Savior, and are you now living into these last words of Jesus: “Go and make disciples”?
Are you living out of this great commission? Maybe you don’t know where to start. This brief but complete Gospel presentation by Peter is all you need. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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