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Unleashing the Power of Acts 10:38

1. Understanding the Context of Acts 10:38


This scripture makes Peter's words especially important to the church, because the whole history of the Church was changed by this speech. When enumerating the activities of Jesus, Peter does not take the time to add "for healing", but just includes it with other categories as if it were no more important than giving sight or casting out demons.


The special aspect of this conversion is that the Gentile converts had to become Jews first by following Jewish laws. Up to the time of this speech, Christianity was a Jewish sect, but in Peter's speech to Cornelius, Peter lays the foundation to remove these Jewish requirements from the Christian conversion process, creating a church that included all races. By making the Gentiles "clean", Peter was successful at laying the foundation to create the church as we know it today.


The setup for this verse is the start of Peter's speech to the household of Cornelius. This is a pivotal point in Christian history in two ways. Cornelius, a Gentile, represents the first Gentiles to become Christian without first having to become a Jew and follow Jewish laws. Up to that point, all Christians were Jews or Gentiles who had converted to Judaism.

In the text of Acts 10:38, Peter states, "You know that God anointed Jesus, anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power." The traditional understanding of this text is that God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit and the power to perform miracles and wonders. Some interpret this verse to be an explanation of how God provided Jesus with the power needed to do the things that he did. But there is a broader context to consider in this passage.


2. The Power of Jesus' Anointing


The power of Jesus' power of the testimony, works, and words - flowed from the Holy Spirit, which he enjoyed in its fullest intensity. Turbulent times belie the human tendency to embrace such a truth, just because God seems a silent and absent witness to what is happening in our society. Such a sentiment, however, is tragically off the mark. Imprisoned by the will of God, John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus: "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" Few are those who do not know their Lord. This is precisely what Jesus tells John's representatives. However, many sins do weigh down those souls which refuse to welcome the Lord, as vocalized by Luke. Believe in this Gospel to have your blindness cured and your deafness restored, especially in order that you may hear this beautiful verse of Jesus: "The blind see, the deformed are clothed with justice, the blind may see, those who are deaf may hear."


Power of the anointing - sure to remember the old saying? God has no grandchildren. That word should suffice to remind us that there are no second-rate Christians. It's easy for us to forget this in the midst of our struggles and sufferings, but what it means for us today to have Jesus as Lord and Messiah. He is not only God intervening in our lives; he is the first one to experience the fullness of our redemption and transformation. He was the first of the dead who received victory over death. On Easter Sunday, God raised His own life, and He also owed us to fully share in God's life. Jesus, from the first moment of his conception, was indeed the Son of God. Functionally speaking, however, he was anointed - that is, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit - only following His baptism, as indicated by Luke in today's first reading.


2.1. Exploring the Significance of 'Anointed Jesus of Nazareth'


Luke 3:1, 18 and 18:36 identify Jesus as "Christos", while Acts 4:27 and 10:38 call him Jesus "Christos", again with the meaning of Jesus the Anointed. However, a number of scholars have long tried to deny the religious meaning of Jesus' anointing by presenting him as a political leader called to fight, rather than to reform or to redeem. In particular, the texts that illustrate the scene of Jesus' anointing are often used by this group of scholars to support the juridical reasons that led to his execution because they claim that he aspired to a status higher than his true one, that of regent or of king like the Roman governors or the Jewish leader. Additionally, a few scholars have also questioned the messianic religious wine of "anointed Jesus of Nazareth" in Acts 10:38, which introduces him into the Cornelius and Simon Peter's encounter digital, video and print travel poster as the object and the reason for a creative, decorative and symbolic visit and or move in the New Testament scene of redemption.


One of the most problematic passages of the entire New Testament is Acts 10:38 and, specifically, its reference to "anointed Jesus of Nazareth". As is well known, the English word "anointed" is a typical Christian translation but, unfortunately, it does not correspond to the Greek word "christos". The latter is a noun derived from the postclassical verb "chriō", with the same meaning as the Attic era verb "aleipho" (anoint) in seven of the twelve occurrences in the New Testament. The Old Testament also refers to the anointing as an essential and religious ritual that serves to design, to sanctify and to consecrate a person, normally a priest or a king, considered as a leader and a model of higher or temporal power and respect, enabling him to fulfill their special service that is part of a larger and sacred purpose.


3. Healing All Who Were Oppressed by the Devil


The Bible teaches that there are various categories of spiritual forces. Jesus spoke both to individual spirits in people and to spirits which ruled in various regions. There is a well-known account where Jesus comes face to face with a man who was so carried away with demonic power that he called himself "Legion" because he was host to a great many evil spirits. The Bible states the spirits cried to Jesus, asking that he not order them to go out into the "Abyss." They also requested that Jesus allow them to go into a large herd of pigs, so they requested it of Jesus "not to command them to go away into the abyss."


In this passage, our Lord speaks in total freedom. He identifies the problem and speaks about the solution, showing us why the Son of God appeared. Jesus says that all who do not believe in him are under the dominion of the devil, and wherever the devil is, people are oppressed. Wherever the Son of God is, the dominion of the devil is abolished and those who are oppressed are set free. These still possessed or oppressed by the devil are not free. They are controlled like slaves. They do not own themselves. But Jesus Christ has come so that we will regain power or strength and dominate these spirits, and they will forever cease to oppress or worry us.


3.1. Understanding the Nature of Oppression in Our Lives


We experience depression when we are deficient of hope and lack the possibility of a results orientation. Depression is a mental state or condition that can be occasioned by impairing obsessions, or bringing the process or act of oppression to a halt, or through electroconvulsive therapy. We must not, under any circumstances, judge ourselves unwantedly. We must clear meritless notions of who we are and remain aware of rights of the oppressive environment. Depression may also cause us to self-blame, in ways that result in self-degradation, increased feelings of helplessness, and to a greater preoccupation with mistakes and faults. These cognitive treatments contribute to a loss of a sense of coherence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy essential to a perception of ourselves and the process of meaning in our surroundings.


Many people are not aware of the many ways in which we experience oppression in our lives. Oppression is a systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and/or political benefit of the more powerful social group. Acts of oppression dismantle the rights, bonds, politics, and we diminish any sense of social humanity and conditions of powerlessness, deprivation, and suffering. There are similarities between the various forms of oppression that we experience in our society, but all forms of oppression spring from singularity and connections of the human personality. When we feel anger from oppressive situations, we must compress them so that it will not destroy or devalue ourselves. Taking anger out on ourselves or transferring them to others will not satisfy nor rectify our anger about our oppression. These responses often tend to deepen our feelings of impotence and self-hatred. The suffering of oppressed people has called our attention to anger.


4. For God Was with Him


Dr. King tells us that God's prevenient grace redemptively makes the ethical demand and creates both the possibilities and the duties of the realized eschatological understanding of our existence. God's action in redeeming us does not eternally set us apart; it desires to make that which is broken whole. While this redemptive act is symbolized in Christ, by grace through faith, we are co-realizers of the divine. For God was with Jesus, as God is with us. The same action with which God was with Jesus is with us.


The secret to Jesus's power was that God was with him. The action of God was in Jesus, as it was also in the people. In our long preached days that we call contemporary, God was with Jesus. Not just with him, but with him. For in the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God; and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And the Word was made flesh. God was with Jesus.


4.1. The Divine Presence in Jesus' Ministry


Jesus Christ's ministry was characterized by a spiritual urgency to counteract human suffering. After his miracles, people would reaffirm, 'We have never seen anything like this!' (Mark 2:2, NIV). And why should they not say so? It was another time when God's rule was restored, which is reflected in the Gospels, making the world anew. The inspired teaching and deeds of Jesus awakened and confirmed the kingdom. Jesus cures the demonic, the defective, the capricious, and the impaired. Long ago, he killed the dead, stilled the stormy, shaped the sickly, fed the starving, and revived the lost. In Jesus' work of authoritative teaching and nurturing, success was indispensable. Prosperous accomplishment of the divine purpose of reconciliation incarnate is certified by Jesus' triumph over physical vice. The cosmic impact and tangible forming of God's rule were demonstrated by Jesus 'from the outset' of the Gospel through its subsistence.


Jesus was divine through and through, to the glory of God the Father, as theologians yield. Consequently, his ministry captured the very presence of God, recognizing and repenting wrong, sickness, or sin. Jesus turned back injustice, wrongdoing, and evil. When evil appeared, injustice echoed, suffering felt, and the powerless responded; the suffering Christ stood within the world, detecting moral evil, necessitating an accounting and righting a wrong. Frequent accounts echo these claims in the Gospels and the declared miracle accounts, stating the gospel by the kingdom of God, Jesus proved not only that God forgave sin, but heaven's power to act and remove the physical grief of the penalizers. Jesus' ministry and work were walking signs that God's reign poured the healing and the unruly law.


5. The Theme Scripture: Luke 4:18-19


For He was seen by many; universally know about this and, concerning those who believe, they have made a declaration by crying out in demonstrations, “Repent and be believing and confident in the good news and the joyful message. Cleanse your hearts and change direction because we must demonstrate a change and different way from the purpose and nature of the age in which we all live; a crooked and perverse generation.”


How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by the power of the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of everything that He did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they put Him out of the way (murdered Him) by hanging on a tree; but God raised Him to life on the third day and caused Him to be manifest and shown — not to all the people, but to witnesses foreordained (beforehand) by God, that is chosen and specially trained for the purpose. These witnesses were ones whom God had already chosen, that is, they are His followers. Them God raised up on the third day and caused Him to take a bow and sit at His right hand at the Glory Throne.


The following is the text of the original Acts 10:38 sermon with the theme Scripture being Luke 4:18. Please note the use of atypical word choices and colloquialisms. It has been my experience that to provide a literal translation often dilutes a point that many sermons try to communicate. However, there are those who argue that any additions to a literal translation, no matter how minor, are considered grievous. The sermon text and words, coupled with the theme of this message, hopefully address common concerns.


5.1. Unpacking the Message of Liberation and Redemption


The Spirit-led Peter encourages the inquirer and the quite natural fear and concern of the two believers at what God is about to do is quickly put to rest. They are told to "calm down and come on in" to the peaceful presence and love of God. Second, the sermon primarily concerns the power of God's love at work in the redeeming, healing mission of Jesus Christ. The full impact of the message is to be gathered from the whole story that preceded and possibly continued to follow that moment of conversion and immersion into the Church. Third, a great mystery of grace is here related. This liberating power of God is destined to issue forth from the "kindly light" that preceded the great fire animating the Church of the Apostles at Pentecost. The importance of illumination and grace relative to Holy Baptism is strongly suggested. Is this sermon an oft-repeated genealogy of the illumination of all good within all humanity as a primary and perennial activity in readiness and preparation for Holy Baptism?


Given the careful rooftop preparation and culminating challenge of the sermon, the full understanding of its message and significance may be better served by unpacking each of the three movements (acts), taking a chronological approach to their interpretation. How else can we "unleash the power" of this pregnant passage? Three principal implications are suggested for applications of Acts 10:38 in the modern liturgy. First, Acts 10:25-29 suggests that the sermon seeks to relate to "God-fearing people" in the congregation gathering to become Church.


6. Analogies and Examples


In some ways, our lives are like the stories of the two wolves. The things that we do, the things that we value, the things that we cherish, and the things that we let influence us determine the life that we will live and the person that we will be. If we choose to focus on these seven principles that Joseph taught, we will inevitably shape our lives with a discipline and a direction that will help us confront our greatest challenges, overcome significant barriers, and become a force for good in the lives of as many people as we are given the opportunity to reach.


Consider the story of the two wolves. A grandfather explains to his grandson that inside us, there is a battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad - it is angry, envious, jealous, sorrowful, regretful, greedy, arrogant, self-pitying, resentful, deceitful, and dishonest. The other wolf is good - it is peaceful, loving, joyful, hopeful, serene, kind, benevolent, friendly, compassionate, empathetic, generous, faithful, and truthful. The grandson thinks for a minute and then asks, "Which wolf will win?" The grandfather replies, "The one you feed."


6.1. The Light in the Darkness: A Story of Transformation


But, as I've already said, I'm smiling and pointing to the air with my index finger. I have come to you this morning to preach a Gospel message full of hope and encouragement. And, I went on, beaming at the people who had gathered before me, it is to the darkest memories of our past that we can turn to at those moments when we want to know the feel of the gentle touch of the Savior willing to suffer. It is to those very shadows, it seems, that my mind goes when I am in need of meditating on the Grace of God to transform hearts. In the following paragraphs, I would like to take some time to share a story contained in my "shadow"-box. I hope it would help motivate you to experience this same blessing I enjoy.


Some of us can think back happily on our past and remember the people and the times when we felt full and significant. These are the memories that help make our lives both full and satisfying. But some of these memories we store far, far away from our hearts. We don't want to remember those occasions and will do anything to avoid even the smallest mention of their happening. And still, regardless of the balance of these memories of when we felt full and those memories of when we felt empty, all of us, sooner or later, will do something to add to the dark memories of someone in our life-story.


7. Living Out the Message Today


The message of Christ was a message of internal and external transformation and redemption, without rejection. In the rabbinic debates of Jesus' day, the religious scholars would not have supported his message. Today, some religious scholars follow Christ but follow their old racist habits. The church fathers remind us that salvation is found only in the name of Jesus, and yet the message of the early church was totally at odds with the religious leaders. I close with the message contained in one biblical phrase from Galatians 2:20: It is no longer I who speak, but it is Christ who speaks through me. Jesus' message is still revolutionary, and will continue to be opposed, yet when we are fearfully and wonderfully made, then shall we be truly free. Amen.


As we take heed of the life of Jesus, the message to us is still powerful and clear. As an anointed community, we cannot ignore the life of Jesus. The question is: Which priorities will inspire our life together as an anointed body of Christ? Will the message of Jesus inspire our worship? Community and racial relations? What about our relationships with the poor and the disenfranchised? Is the radical love of Jesus Christ for all groups reflected in our words and deeds? If the church would but live out the message of Jesus, the whole world would more readily accept the redemptive and healing message, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How are we witnessing to the power of the anointing in our lives?


7.1. Practical Steps to Embrace the Power of Acts 10:38


I’m changed by a verse promising change? What brought me back to this verse? Faith. But not a snake oil faith that only gave me $20 worth of blessings, but faith with a fervent belief in the power of Jesus Christ and His Word. I fervently believe in the authority and power of the Holy Spirit. I have faith in a promise allowing us all to receive God’s authority and power. Acceptance of this kind of faith changes everything. And that’s why I don’t want to just introduce this verse to those looking for more. I want to unleash the astounding authority you’re given in this verse through the power of Jesus Christ. I trust His Word. Do you?


I realize I’m chronicling my personal journey. None of us would be in God’s Word except through the grace, love, and blessings of Jesus Christ. Jesus made the way for me to become a thriving resident of His promises. No longer an unwanted trespasser deprived of my joy and peace, but an embraced tenant with a covenant in Jesus Christ. I had a breaking point—the desperate need for lasting transformation and redemption—soon to be provided by my empowerment receipt based on what I now realize is a powerful, life-changing verse.


8. Conclusion


What is at issue is no longer continuity to the models for the mention of the Kingdom that are given in the New Testament; nor does it involve psychological exegesis where we fill the gaps of the description of the person who is raptured with our needs and experiences; instead, we must define the existence of the models and motivational structures that point us to the particular type of existence of Jesus of Nazareth, in his actions and teachings, so that his living presence might be present in our lives and in his work through us. The ecclesial structures themselves, as we see them, must aim not at pointing through the finish line, but at structuring oneself in such a way as to acknowledge them for what they are: dynamic road signs that internalize a paradoxical, dynamic, living presence that refers to the Lord who proclaims healing, salvation, justice, redemption, and the Kingdom of God. The ultimate use of human theories should be to foster a transformation that accelerates life and sheds light on communion at the operational moment, for the actual God expects of us something more than words preached from the pulpit or written on this page.


In conclusion, Peter's message is a masterful blend of the prophetic scripture as written in Isaiah and other parts of the Old Testament together with a charismatic perspective based on the ministry of Jesus Christ. His task is all the more remarkable because he does precisely what traditionalists believe cannot, or need not, be done. He effectively bridges the gap between the Old and New Testament, redesigning God's offer of hope, salvation, tranquility, redemption, and transformation to the people. It is no wonder, in this connection, that the Holy Spirit came upon Cornelius and his household as he had with the followers/apostles of Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost.


8.1. Embracing the Anointing of Jesus in Our Lives


We must not forget, however, that every anointing, every anointing of ours can be truly effective and fruitful only if closely linked to the anointing of Jesus. Let us say it in other words. The helplessness and evil that torment the lives of today's huts, because we are - then - not anointed of Christ: enemies of good and empathy every day, from which everyone waits and hopes. We can say that we are really Christ's sent if we are not first and foremost his "scent"? A question that every charismatic community, as it is chapter.

Grace. That every step, every gesture, gesture... Yes, every anointing of the day is crowded with meaning. It is not easy for us to - even in our own behavior... - notice that denseness of the manifestations of God's love, that strange thrust of his tenderness with which he - every day - surrounds our paths. Yet the Lord, with his immense love, charges every instant of our life with snares full of divine mercy. Charismatic or not, in fact, intelligently, with awareness and a sense that is always deeper, every one of us wants to "dress" his or her own lifestyle and activity with the anointing of Jesus the Christ, today predicted by the Prophet Isaiah and confirmed by the revealing words of the Resurrected who spoke to the disciples of Christ just alluded to you and me today in words from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 61. Then every day will be full of God's grace!

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