…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. (Acts 10:38)
The Christmas story is really written all over the Bible. We’re familiar with the passages of Scripture that we normally associate with Christmas such as Luke 2 and Matthew 1, Isaiah 9 and 7. If we open our eyes a bit, we can see Christmas almost everywhere.
I think we can see Christmas in Acts 10:38. In Acts 10 Peter traveled to Caesarea to answer the inquiry of a Roman military man named Cornelius. Centurion Cornelius was a Gentile, but he honored the God of Israel, and he was counted among a group of Gentiles known as “God Fearers.” God spoke to Cornelius and told him to get Peter so the apostle could tell him the good news, and Peter came.
As Peter explained the life and work of Jesus to Cornelius and his associates, he used the simple phrase recorded by Luke: …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 (Acts 10:38).
What Peter said was true: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, beginning (humanly speaking) when by a miracle Jesus was conceived in the virgin womb of Mary. Matthew 1:18 says she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Humanly speaking, the work of the Holy Spirit began when Jesus was conceived in Mary as she was in the village of Nazareth.
Peter also said that Jesus was anointed with power. This power was evident at the first Christmas. We think that there is nothing less powerful than a newborn baby, and in this sense, Jesus chose to come in a way that shares our weakness. Yet even as a baby Jesus Christ had power enough to attract angelic announcements and the joyful proclamation of shepherds.
As Peter said, in the life and ministry of Jesus, He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. Jesus did this in His radical association with sick and oppressed humanity. Jesus Himself never sinned in any way, but He came as a man among hurting humanity – and that was clear by the way He came in all the circumstances surrounding His birth at Bethlehem.
Peter also said something wonderful about Jesus: that God was with Him. In connection with Christmas, we can’t hear that phrase without thinking of the promise in Isaiah 7:15 – that the Messiah would be born of a virgin and they would call his name Immanuel – “God With Us.” Speaking of Jesus, wonderfully God was with Him and the coming of Jesus proves that God is with us.
Take joy in it today – the One for whom God was with Him is also God with us!