“Through His Name” ( Acts 10: 43, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“All the prophets testify about [Jesus Christ] that through His Name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

Peter preaches this to Cornelius, who has recently sent for him after “a man in a dazzling robe” stands before him and tells him that He has heard his prayers. Cornelius says to Peter, “You did the right thing in coming. So we are all present before God, to hear everything you are commanded by the Lord.” (Acts 10:30,33)

Peter begins by verbally recognizing that “God doesn’t show favoritism.” (Acts 10:34) Peter realizes that “in every nation the person who fears [God] and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.” (Acts 10:35) Peter then proceeds to tell Cornelius of the events which led to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Peter proclaims, “[Jesus] is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)

If Jesus judges you as clean, then you are clean.

With Peter’s words, Cornelius and the other Gentiles with him, believe and through the Name of Jesus Christ each is saved from his sins. The Holy Spirit descends on each one so that they speak in other languages and declare the greatness of God. At this point, Peter calls for these new believers to be baptized with water for they have already been sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Seeking God and being sought by Him — in every nation, people are being saved. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

“In Me, You May Have Peace” ( John 16: 33, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Jesus’ disciples, when the Lord tells them He is no longer speaking to them in figurative speech, i.e. in parables, proclaim “now we know that You know all things and do not need anyone to question You; this is why we believe that You came from God.” (John 16:30)

Jesus responds, perhaps with a wry smile, “Do you now believe?” (John 6:31) then tells them they will scatter, “and leave Me alone.” (John 16:32) Here Jesus acknowledges His friends believe in Him, but nevertheless will abandon Him in His hour of suffering. In the next moment, He encourages them. Jesus tells them that He is saying “these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.” (John 16:33)

A contradiction? A paradox?

I speak in parables, and you can’t tell I Am from God. I speak plainly and you are amazed. You think My plain speaking means I must be from God. You declare your belief, but soon you will scatter in fear and sleepiness. You will leave Me alone to face your sins and My Father’s wrath. But I Am giving you My peace despite yourselves.

And, this is the good news. Jesus gives us His peace despite ourselves.

“Two Responses : Doubt Vs. Faith” ( Luke 1: 38, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


(Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 1:03pm)

Zechariah, when Gabriel appears to him as he is burning incense to the Lord in the temple, is “startled and overcome with fear.” (Luke 1:12) Mary, when Gabriel appears to her and speaks of God’s favor, is “deeply troubled by [his] statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.” (Luke 1:29)

 

When Gabriel tells Zechariah that his barren wife Elizabeth is to bear a son and that they shall call him John, Zechariah responds, “How can I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.” (Luke 1:18) Zechariah asks for proof, given his circumstances.

 

When Gabriel tells Mary that she will be with child and bear the “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32) Mary asks, “How can this be?” asking to understand the message, given her circumstances. Gabriel explains, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:34, 37) With the angel’s explanation which Mary readily accepts, she responds, “I am the Lord’s slave. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

 

Elizabeth later proclaims, “She [that is, Mary] who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

 

On the other hand, Gabriel proclaims to Zechariah, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. Now listen! You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at the proper time.” (Luke 1:19-20)

 

Mary immediately acts, visiting Elizabeth so that the unborn children – Jesus and John – may meet even before their births. John leaps in the womb at the presence of His Lord, the One he will go before to prepare the way for the salvation of God’s people.

“What Shall We Say Then?” (1 John 1: 9, HCSB) by Carley Evans


In confession resides purification. Jesus promises to purify us from all unrighteousness as we confess our sins to His Father and to one another.

“If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we deceive ourselves.” (1 John 1: 8) On the other hand, if we recognize our sin, and confess it as existing, as undesirable, as unworthy of our relationship with Christ; then God the Father is willing and able to forgive us.

Jesus presents us as His clean brothers and sisters to His Father — we are washed in the blood of Christ so that “though [our] sins are like scarlet, they are as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they are like wool.” (Isaiah 1: 18)

Jesus says this is reasonable; that we are able to discuss this truth — “if [we] are willing and obedient, [we] eat the good things of the land.” (Isaiah 1: 19) Our obedience consists of believing on Christ, of recognizing our core unworthiness, of placing our entire trust in His sacrificial grace and in His righteousness.

Paul rhetorically asks, “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace might multiply? Absolutely not!” (Romans 6: 1 – 2) We are not to sin, but “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2: 1 – 2)