Even Gentiles

Wednesday: Jesus’ Public Ministry

Acts 10:34-48 In this study Peter preaches the Gospel to Gentiles.
Jesus’ Public Ministry

In today’s study we continue our look at Peter’s sermon to the Gentiles, which contains the basic Gospel message. 

2. The second thing Peter mentions is the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. This is a much more important part of the early preaching than we would at first imagine, as is proved by the fact that each of the four gospels begins at this point. 

Why is this so important? When we talk about the baptism of Jesus, generally we talk about it in terms of Jesus’ identification with us. That is important. But that is not the primary reason why the baptism of Jesus by John has such an important place in the kerygma

The reason it is involved in all these basic proclamations of the Gospel is that, when Jesus Christ was baptized: 1) God the Father spoke from heaven, authenticating Him as his Son, and 2) on that occasion, Jesus was anointed visibly with the Holy Spirit for the task He had to do. 

It is at this point that God set His seal of approval on Jesus. He identified Him as His Son and messenger, the one to whom we should pay heed. 

3. The third part of Peter’s summation of the Gospel is the public ministry of Jesus— “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” (v. 28). This involves two things: 1) good deeds, and 2) special acts that demonstrated Christ’s power over Satan. 

The significant thing about this summation of the public ministry of Jesus is that Peter does not mention Christ’s teachings. In the gospels we find whole chapters filled with Christ’s sayings, parables and discourses. Yet here, when Peter summarizes the Gospel, he does not talk about the teachings of Jesus at all. Why? 

The reason is that until people come to understand what Jesus Christ accomplished by His death, turn from sin, and follow Him, they are incapable of responding to His teaching. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said that His disciples are to be poor in spirit, meek, pure in heart and peacemakers, to live by the teaching of the Scriptures and to follow a standard higher even than that found in the Old Testament. These teachings are important and necessary for those who are Christ’s. 

If we speak about the teachings of Jesus without first speaking of the need for repentance and faith in Jesus as our Savior from sin, people quite naturally begin to think that Christianity is merely about doing good. It is learning what Jesus taught and trying to put it into practice. This only encourages self-righteousness, a trust in human-righteousness, which is harmful. Whenever Christianity has fallen into that pattern of teaching it has made a great mistake. 

Well, someone says, didn’t the disciples share what Jesus taught? Of course, they did. The proof is our New Testament, which contains that teaching. But this came afterwards after people had turned from sin and had come to God through faith in Jesus.

Study Questions
  1. Why was Jesus baptized? Why did Peter include Jesus’ baptism in his sermon?
  2. How does Peter summarize Jesus’ ministry? Why does he not include Jesus’ teachings?

Application: Think about your own attempts to share the Gospel with unbelievers. How does Peter’s approach help you in your witnessing?

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “Riches for the Gentiles.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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