Acts 10:34-38 "Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. 36 The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— 37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth....".
As Peter is addressing his Gentile, non-Jewish audience (with specific focus on the Gentile Cornelius), Peter ties together the innate knowledge about God available to all people in general revelation (see Ps 19:1-6; Acts 14:17; 17:25-28; Romans 1:18-20) and the specific saving knowledge of God revealed in the scriptures and in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth (Ps 19:7ff; Luke 24:44; Romans 15:4). Today's post wants to briefly consider the question: "Who is Jesus of Nazareth?"
1. Jesus is God in human flesh. Acts 10:34-36
We have over the past few blogposts looked at the Christian worldview as it pertains to what is called "Christian Theism". By acknowledging the existence of One all powerful God, Christianity asserts unique details about this God found in no other worldview. Furthermore, this One God, existing in Three inter-relating Persons, is fully revealed in One of those Persons - The Son - coming down to earth and assuming true humanity via the virgin birth (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:35). This truly human man would be known in scripture and in history as Jesus of Nazareth.
In as much as Jesus is truly man, scripture quickly reminds the reader that He never ceased being God in the Person of the Son. As only scripture can most accurately express - this Jesus is "The Word made flesh" (John 1:14); "God who appeared in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16) and the full expression of the invisible God (Hebrews 1:1-3). In Acts 10:36 Peter states - "The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)". That title "Lord of All" signifies that Jesus of Nazareth ever remained God as revealed in the Son. The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 summarizes what we have been saying up to this point in the opening sentences of it's article on "God the Son": "Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin." So, Jesus of Nazareth is God in human flesh. Notice a second truth about Him....
2. Jesus is truly man. Acts 10:37-38a
In as much as we stress the true Deity of Jesus: namely His Eternal pre-existence, co-equality with the Father and Spirit and the fact He never ceased being such in His incarnation; we must not diminish in any way the fact that He did indeed take upon Himself true humanity. Peter goes onto say in Acts 10:37-38a "you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth....". Peter references the beginning of Jesus' public ministry whereby the Holy Spirit came upon Him in power during His baptism. The Son of God in taking on true humanity lived as a man - the historical and Biblical Christ - Jesus of Nazareth. The same texts we appealed to in the previous point with regards to Jesus being truly God also can be used here to show His true humanity. John 1:14 states: "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us...". Colossians 2:9 describes Him as the "fullness of the Godhead bodily". Though Jesus of Nazareth the man was fully partaking and participating in humanity as a man, He at the same time was partaking and participating in the Godhead - the One God existing in Three members: Father, Spirit and the Son. As Adrian Rogers has noted: "Jesus was so much man as if He were not God; and yet He was still so much God as if He were not man. Nonetheless, this Jesus is both truly God and truly man." So Jesus of Nazareth is truly God and Truly man. This describes what Jesus is, and Who He is. However, what was it that Jesus of Nazareth achieved? See tomorrow as we continue in this short study of Peter's sermon in Acts 10:34-43.
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