Going Deeper 4-16-19

The first reading for Easter Sunday...
Acts 10:34-43   Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.  You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.  That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem.  They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God 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."

Peter began with a very bold statement: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality."  This shows a massive paradigm shift for Peter, who had been raised with the understanding that the Jews, as the descendants of Abraham, had always been God's favorites.  Among all the nations of the world, they were God's "chosen ones."  

But they had not been chosen because of their special qualities or impressive track record.  As a matter of fact, history would demonstrate that they were chosen in spite of their lack of special qualities and a far less than stellar track record.  There were not chosen because they were special, but were special because they were chosen.  God's intention in calling and blessing and guiding Abraham and his descendants was to bless all of the nations of the world through them.

Israel did not fulfill that calling.  But God did fulfill His promise.  In the sending of Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, all of the nations were blessed with grace and salvation.  Obviously, this includes us.  But it is vitally important for us to recognize that we have been chosen not because we are special, but are special because we are chosen.  

In grace, God has called us His children.  Now, as His children, God calls us to be blessings to the world, starting with those closest to us and moving outward from there... outward to the very ends of the earth.  Our calling is to share the story of the salvation won for all through the redemptive mission of Jesus the Christ, which means that "everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."  We share God's love in both words and deeds.

May God's Spirit continue to inspire and empower us to believe and to proclaim that message!

With You in His Mission,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."