Psalms 10 & 11; Joshua 4: 1 – 24 and Acts 4: 5 – 37
Portico. The question they ask is by what name this healing has taken place, and Peter replies that it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom they had crucified, but God had raised from the dead. Peter’s indictment of them was that Jesus was the stone that would be the pinnacle of the arch of His construction of salvation, based on the foundation stones of the Law and the prophets. The religious authorities of the time had failed to recognise Jesus for who he was, but by the Resurrection had been vindicated as the keystone of the whole structure. Peter concludes his answer with the masterly statement, ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved’.
Reading on in Acts 4 we see the dilemma facing the authorities, who marvel that these uneducated men, Peter and John, are now able to preach with such power. Besides, they have the evidence of the healed man standing with them. It is concluded that they should be forbidden from preaching in the name of Jesus, but public opinion prevented them dealing out a more severe sentence. After a prayer and praise meeting with all their friends, the Holy Spirit came upon them once more in great power, which gave them the answer about remaining silent. It was simply impossible not to proclaim the saving power of Jesus’ name. In the next chapter they are arrested again!
To conclude, succeeding generations of Christians have all become part of that edifice we call the Church, the body of Christ. Paul speaks in Ephesians 2: 19 that we are ‘no longer strangers and aliens, but are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the keystone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord’.
What a magnificent picture this is and we are privileged to be part of that great building of faith, going back through so many generations. To continue this heritage, we need to maintain the integrity of the spiritual building, never doubting the foundations and trusting in the uniqueness of Jesus as the name by which the world can be saved.
Kevin Boak, Lay Reader