Monday, March 3, 2014

No Other Name

And there is salvation in no one else;
for there is no other name under heaven 
that has been given among men 
by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

What's in a name?  Apparently a lot.

The name of Jesus has a lot of power behind it:
  • We have life in His name (John 20:31)
  • Forgiveness of sins comes through His name (Acts 2:38)
  • Miraculous healing power comes through His name (Acts 3:6)
  • Demons flee because of His name (Acts 16:18)
  • Justification comes through His name (I Cor. 6:11)
  • Every knee will bow to His name (Phil. 2:20)
So what is it about a name?  Well, names bring to mind faces, people. Think of your mother's name or your father's name and what comes to mind?  But it's more than a face - it's character, actions, expressions, words.  Try this - what comes to mind when you hear the name of our president?  Different people will respond differently to his name - why do you have that specific response?  Some names bring warm responses and others incite anger - because a name carries with it the character of the one it represents.  

In Acts 4 Peter is basically on trial because he healed a lame man.  The rulers, elders and scribes demanded to know by what power or what name was he operating. Peter turns the tables on his accusers, pointing out that what he had done was a good deed, not a crime and that his power came through the name of Jesus, whom they had crucified. He went on to use Old Testament prophecies to point out Jesus' messiahship and ended by saying there is no other name but Jesus by which we must be saved.  The leaders dismissed the room to discuss what to do and because of the nature of the miracle (which they couldn't deny) and the following it was causing (over 5,000 men had been saved as a result), they had to put a stop to it.  So they demanded that Peter stop using the name of Jesus.  Period.

Yeah. That didn't go over very well.  Peter responded that it was impossible for him to keep quiet.

You see, the name of Jesus contained the character of God. How could he keep quiet?  His life had been transformed by Jesus and Jesus had left him with a job to do - spread the gospel to the world.  So Peter's message was pretty simple - there is only one way to salvation and that is through Jesus.

How is the name of Jesus treated today?  Is it held in high esteem?  Is it treated with great care? Does it carry the weight of the character of God?  Does your heart break when you hear it tossed around and carelessly mocked?

I was watching a late night host last week who talked about the new Jesus movie coming out and with sarcasm in his voice he said that the ending was pretty predictable.  It got a raucous laugh.  A laugh from the very ones who can only be saved through His name.


The enemy has worked overtime to make a mockery of the name of Jesus and he's been highly successful.  May we as children of God work diligently to steward the great responsibility that has been placed in our care - the gospel is no laughing matter, but it is the greatest treasure that the world desperately needs, for it is only through the name of Jesus that we must be saved! 

As Peter refused to keep silent, may we follow his example and lift high the name of Jesus!

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