Wednesday, June 21, 2023

             You may be familiar with the expression that says “no good deed ever goes unpunished.”  That expression was true with Peter and John shortly after they healed the lame beggar in Acts 3.  Not long after healing this man who could not walk, they found themselves indicted for what they had done.  In Acts 4, while they were speaking to the assembled crowd, they were confronted by some Sadducees, priests and the captain of the temple guard.  The civil and religious leadership was angry at the two disciples for speaking about the person, death and resurrection of Jesus.  So, these officials seized the two disciples and tossed them in jail.
            The next day, Peter and John were taken before a council of leaders for a hearing on their words and behavior (Acts 4:5-7).  The basic question posed to these two disciples was one of authority.  “They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: By what power or what name did you do this?’” (Acts 4:7).  Peter, in his own words, answered, “Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:10).  With no shyness, fear or embarrassment, Peter gladly declared the name of Jesus to the crowd of interrogators—the very name this crowd least wanted to hear.  The religious establishment’s efforts to do away with Jesus had failed.  He had risen from the dead.  The disciples were preaching His gospel.  And the name of Jesus was still spoken and revered.
            A breath later, Peter added the following statement, “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).  Peter revealed at least five important truths about Jesus as he testified before these adversaries and doubters.  First, Peter declared that Jesus lives.  He used the expression “Jesus is” (Acts 4:11).  He spoke in the present tense.  He declared in a subtle yet convicted way that Jesus is very much alive and changing the lives of all who come to Him in faith and trust.  The resurrection was no myth or made-up story to deceive others.  Easter morning was real.  The stone did move.  And Jesus did walk out of the tomb in victory and glory.  Peter had no misgivings or reluctance about speaking the truth to these officials. 
            Second, these officials had rejected Jesus.  They sat in their own guilt.  They had chosen not to believe or follow Jesus.  These officials missed their long-awaited and long-sought Messiah and had led others astray by their lack of faith.  Even today, we reject Christ by ourselves.  We cannot blame anyone else for any lack of faith on our part.  The gospel comes individually and personally to us and we either embrace it or reject it by our specific response.  If we find ourselves detached from the Lord or in opposition to Him, we can blame only ourselves and our actions. 
            Third, Peter declared that Jesus had become the “capstone” of all that God was
and is doing.  Jesus is the only suitable and worthy foundation for faith.  Paul wrote in I Corinthians 3:11, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  Jesus is the basis for our faith.  We build our lives upon Him.  But as Peter noted, Jesus is also the high point of our faith.  He is the stone at the top of a wall or the crowning achievement.  Jesus is the foundation, the peak and everything in between.  Faith is always about Christ and in Christ.  As the Bible says, every one of God’s promises is a resounding “yes” in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).
            Fourth, Peter noted that salvation is found only in and through the name of Jesus.  No other name grants us the forgiveness and salvation that we seek.  We are forgiven in and through Christ alone.  In his own words, Peter called out these religious officials for trusting anything or anyone other than Jesus—the very One whom they so despised.  These officials could not trust their own merits or any goodness they might have done toward others.  Only Jesus could and would be able to save.  Today, we dare not look for salvation or grace apart from Christ.  There are not multiple ways to reach heaven or to receive the gift of salvation.  It is only by grace through faith that we are saved and there is no reason to boast except in Christ and Him alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
            Finally, Peter spoke the good news that we can be saved.  God has not abandoned us or forgotten us.  He has not looked the other way and left us adrift in a sea of sin that we have made.  We cannot help but think that Peter was subtly but confidently trying to persuade his interrogators that they needed God’s grace and could still find it in Christ. The hour was not too late for them. Though they had made great efforts to eliminate the name of Jesus, they could still embrace that name and find salvation and hope in it.  Paul did.  Paul spent many days and nights trying to abolish the gospel and those who followed Christ.  But one day, he realized his battle was futile and foolish as he came to trust the very Name he once labored so hard to banish and defeat.  Often in life, we realize that we are pushing away the very One we most need—the Lord Himself.  Pride often takes the place of humility.  Self-righteousness can often override the righteousness we most need to receive as a credit to us.  We can easily trust our own perceived goodness while pushing away the cross and the blood that was shed there.  In his own words, Peter helps us to realize there is a Savior and we can know Him because He came for each of us.  Have a great Wednesday!  Remember you can worship any time at

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