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That’s a Nice Fish

May 26, 2011

Sometimes we hate the process.  Now listen, we love the results…we love the object that comes in the end of the process…we just don’t care to go through the ordeal to get there.  I’ll use me as an example.  When I proposed to Lauri to marry me…that’s all I was asking her to do.  I was saying, “Let’s be covenanted together for the rest of our lives.”  That’s it.  I was not asking her for 15 wedding showers…not for fine china…not for Tupperware…and definitely not for a ton of cookbooks…I was asking her to be my wife.  What I learned, is that there is a process that happens before the wedding.  And there was some awkwardness (you can only be excited about so many crock pots).  But that’s the process.  I think Peter understood something about strange and often painful processes…but I know he loved the results at the end.

 If you will…and I hope you will…take a minute and read through Acts 10:34-48.

 Just before this passage, we see a very strange process take place.  Peter’s hungry, he takes a nap, has a dream about all kinds of animals and “creeping things”…and then some strangers show up and invite him to go meet Cornelius (who, by the way, is a two day walk from there).  Peter shows up at Cornelius’ house, does a little meet and greet, and verse 34 says that he “opened his mouth” and began to share the Gospel.  Now, we could spend weeks unpacking the importance of that verse alone (if not a lifetime)…because we are surrounded by people who have been convinced that they are sharing the Gospel by tucking in their shirt, smiling at everyone, and slapping an ichthus on the back of their car.  But we’ll save that for later.

 If we’re honest, most of us would think that the uncomfortable part of the story would be the part where we “have” to share the Gospel…but if you look closely at the text, it shows the exact opposite.  In fact, this is the first time in the chapter that Peter actually seems comfortable.  He’s been confused for two days, but now that he understands what he’s there for…he just lays it out there.  Seriously, in verse 36 he just tells them that they are about to hear the good news of peace through Jesus Christ…that’s the Gospel…that’s the good news.  For the next few verses, it isn’t complicated.  Peter simply says, “This is what happened…we saw it.”  “This is what He did…we’re the witnesses.”  He just throws it out there.  And then he gets to the part of the story where it goes bad…because after telling of all the good things that Jesus did, he recounts the human response when in verse 39 he says, “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.”  Jesus healed people…we killed Him for it. 

 But that’s not the end of the story is it?  Of course not…because regardless of where you land on miracles…you cannot deny that something very unique happened three days after Jesus died.  John Dickson says, “There is a resurrection shaped dent in the historical record.”  It is unavoidable…it’s public knowledge…because it’s true…Jesus rose.  This is the good news that Peter shared that day…and look what happened…while he was still talking…the people got saved.  “The Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.” 

 The process was confusing…the process was certainly uncomfortable…but the result, the object at the end…was worth it, because people were saved.  Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  And in Him we have peace.  The process can be painful and often uncomfortable…but like the marriage at the end of the engagement…it is beautiful…and God rejoices over His children.  Share that today.

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