Acts 10:36 “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”
If God is at peace with us, that gives me peace. The shame, the nerves, the stress that go along with guilt evaporate under the promise of forgiveness. In his book Counseling at the Cross, Curtis Lyon tells of counseling a lady whose guilt drove her to paranoia and anxiety. It made it impossible for her to sleep. Doctors gave her medication, but that did little more than make her feel tired and restless. After some time she came to her pastor, and together they discovered her anxiety and paranoia were the result of the guilt she was carrying. He helped her realize that Jesus did more than help her carry her guilt. He took it all from her and carried it the cross. She found peace with God through Jesus. That same day her anxiety and paranoia disappeared. More dramatically, she practically fell asleep in the pastor’s office when suddenly she was rid of the heavy burden.
The gospel isn’t always the cure for insomnia. Such peace with God does not exempt us from rainy days and stormy seas that plague everyone’s life. But it does convince me God is on my side no matter what is going on. Having my sins forgiven does more than promise better things to come in heaven– though it certainly does that, and takes the terror out of facing death. It also gives me the confidence that I can survive everything I face now. I can be certain that my life, just the way it is, is right, in spite of all its crosses. I have peace with God and he is on my side.
There is more good news here. We have peace through Jesus Christ, “who is Lord over all.” Jesus is the Lord and Ruler over all things: my life, my world, my universe. Maybe we are tempted to question whether this is such good news. After all, we cherish our freedoms. We don’t think we want someone telling us what to do.
But people do get excited about a great leader, even in a so-called “free” country like ours. Look at the way we get stirred up about elections. They dominate the news. Millions and billions of dollars pour into them. In countries with kings or dictators, great masses of people will turn out for some parade or speech to cheer their leader on.
Why? Is it just because we like to be told what to do? No, it’s because we expect those who lead us to do great things for us. With their power they can influence our prosperity. They provide for our safety and security, and they help to bring order to our world. We hope their laws will protect us from harm and raise the standard of living in our community.
Jesus Christ, who gave his life to save me, is “Lord of all.” He rules not only “Christian” America, but also “Muslim” Iran, and “Communist” China, and “Hindu” India, and “uninhabitable” Mars! My Lord rules to defend my soul and protect me from every enemy to my faith. As I place my hand in his and follow him in faith, he leads me in ways that fill my life with blessing. Like David confesses in Psalm 23, “He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.”
The good news about Jesus is all about peace–lived in his forgiveness and under his lordship.