Jesus: Extra Bold

On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” [1]

Imagine if you will, Peter and John are standing before the Sanhedrin who are probably arranged in a semi-circle around them.  Don’t forget the text tells us that the crippled man, who is now healed is standing right there with them.  I don’t know about you but I imagine some pretty crazy thoughts are going through this healed man’s mind.  Thoughts like, “Man, what is these guy’s problem?  I’ve been crippled all of my life and now I’m healed and the guys who spoke those wonderful words, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk,’ are being given the third degree? What planet am I on?”

The double use of the verb sōthēnai (“to be saved”) in verse 12 means both “restoration to health” physically and “preservation from eternal death” spiritually allows Peter to move easily from the healing of the cripple to the salvation of mankind and, therefore, from a defensive to an aggressive witness. And in his proclamation this is an easy segue for Peter into the text which we will investigate tomorrow.

Usually, Peter’s sermons to this point ended with an appeal, but even though there seems to be none here, there is one present implicitly. If there is salvation (sōthēnai) in no other name, then obviously one must make a commitment to that sole name that brings salvation.

But the appeal is even stronger than that. Peter switched to the first person at the end of the verse, “by which we must be saved,” amounting to a direct appeal to the Sanhedrin. Peter had been bold indeed. He had come full circle. Peter was just being polite! They asked for the name in whom his authority rested. He answered their question. It was the name, the power of Jesus. He directed the charges. The Council had rejected the one who bore this powerful name. The ultimate verdict rested with them. Would they continue to reject the one whom God had placed as the final stone for his people, the only name under heaven in which they would find their own salvation? The final verdict would rest in their own decision.

The same is true today.  Our job is to proclaim the gospel.  What people decide to do with it rests with them.  Remember, it’s our job to be faithful to proclaim the faithful one.  The results rest with God.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ac 4:5–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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