July 31, 2013

Acts 4:12 - None Other Name

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:12

Peter is in trouble again. And this time John was with him. Peter healed a lame man, in the first recorded miracle of the new church. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, the religious authorities have them arrested. Next time Peter, don't heal anyone in front of the temple! But if you do, don't let him dance around in the temple courtyard praising God. And if that happens, certainly don't start preaching about how Jesus is the Messiah and really, really don't remind the Jews that they killed him.

Naturally, Peter did all of these things. I love that guy. And not just because we share the exact same name. Five thousand men believed him that day before the captain of the temple reached him and provided a closing for the sermon.

The next day, the high priest and the rest of the religious leaders came to question them on the matter. Their first question was by what power or in what name had they performed the miracle of healing in. They knew that miracles occur only because of power and that power is only released by authority. And that authority is always in a name. So which name was it?

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 4:10

A perfectly straight-forward question and one that a Spirit-filled Peter was happy to answer. This miracle was performed in the name of Jesus. And just to make sure that they understood precisely which Jesus he meant, he specified Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The name Jesus was not uncommon at that time, but by making sure that they knew it was Jesus of Nazareth, he narrowed it down. And surnames were almost totally unheard of at that time, so by appending Christ to his name, he was ensuring that the council knew he was describing Jesus as the Messiah.

Names are far more important than most people today understand them to be. In Old Testament times, names were given to capture life circumstances. Periodically, names were changed to reflect changes in a life. We see this in several of the patriarchs. Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel. We also saw it in the New Testament with Saul to Paul. And we know that Jesus changed the emphasis of Simon Peter's name from Simon to Peter.

Peter went on to let the council know that this was the ultimate revealed name of God. Jesus means Jehovah is our salvation. No other name is able to provide our salvation. No alternative names have been provided from heaven. There is exactly one saving name. And only through the name of Jesus can we be saved.

This is important to us both for what it tells us the saving name is and for letting us know what it is not. The saving name is Jesus. That name is a name of power and authority. This is why the miracle occurred. The use of the name of Jesus by a Spirit-filled believer allowed the power of the Spirit to flow. When we have the name of Jesus we have all that we need to seek salvation.

Knowing that the name of Jesus is the ultimate revelation of the name of God helps keep us from continuing to seek other paths to heaven. We do not fall into the trap of believing that there are many paths leading to heaven. Only the path that includes the application of the name of Jesus during baptism will have the desired effect. Our search finishes with the name of Jesus!

Tags: Favorite Scriptures Church Writings Apostolic Perspectives