O God, let us be found among the upright. Amen.
Text: Acts 10:34–41
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all – that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.”
Jesus went about in Galilee and the whole country and did good and helped all the needy. Not one who sought His help was unaided. He received all people and all types of people, and never said “No” to any in need. Let all note this well: Not one needy person did Jesus in any way send away unaided. Grace and mercy shine in His deeds. After His death and resurrection He is not simply in Galilee and in the whole Jewish land, but everywhere where human hearts of all races of people long for Him. For He loves all. He has redeemed all with His death on the cross, and He has healing and salvation for each and every one. Peace through Jesus Christ shall still always be proclaimed for the Children of Israel, but also for all the Gentiles, and He Himself is with His witnesses always until the end of the world. The Apostles ate and drank with Him after He arose. He is unseen in the midst of them everywhere and reveals Himself when He will. After the ascension and the outpouring of the Spirit they see Him no more, but will He not be with them? He shows His power gloriously in their preaching, always gives them victory, beats down Satan’s power, and through them reveals the sweet fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
Go out then, comforted with the Savior’s words. Be witnesses of Jesus! You never, never walk alone. Live continually with faith in Him, and proclaim His death and resurrection as something in which you have your life, something you yourselves have experienced. His peace shall conquer in your heart, and He shall reveal His conquering power in the Word of Him whom you proclaim. Even in His humiliation He healed all who were oppressed by the devil. Should He not send His power from His throne of glory, so that the devil might yield before His truth and life in the Gospel of peace? Or should He likewise not have more joy in saving people? “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8).
God, help us that we may no longer be unbelieving, but believing! “Oh, praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” (Psa 117) Amen.
Praise to the Lord, who His rescuing love now is sending
Unto the lost with His message of mercy unending,
Calling so mild All who have wandered so wild,
Come to His grace, thy heart rending.
Praise to the Lord, whose enlightening love now is beaming,
Chasing away all the darkness from hell that was streaming.
Come now and hear, For ev’ry soul He holds dear;
Enter His daylight all gleaming.
Praise to the Lord, whose soul-nurturing love is proceeding,
Tending the vineyard He planted, its boughs ever feeding,
Gathering in Every kindred and kin,
Joy for their sad spirits sending.
Döring: Lover den Herren, hvis reddende Kjærlighed L 364:1-3 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Lobe den Herren (ELH 65); alternate hymn: All hail the power ELH 49:6-7