Let Us Be Saved By Christ (Acts 4:1-22)
Soon we’ll be entering the season of Advent. We’ll be remembering how an angel visited a young woman named Mary and told her that she had been chosen to bear the son of God. She was to name this child Jesus, meaning “to rescue” or “to deliver.” Many people whose stories are told in the Bible have appropriately descriptive names: Adam (“red earth,” which describes the clay from which he was formed), Moses (“drawn from the water,” the name given to him by Pharaoh’s daughter), Ruth (“friend”), David (“beloved”), Peter (“stone”). Names are important. When our parents name us, how can they know who we will become? Mary knew exactly who her baby boy would be: the Son of the Most High.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus, the living Word, preached. He taught about his Father and about his mission on earth. He performed miracles of healing, even restoring the dead to life. And he promised his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14). There is power in the name of Jesus, power to continue the work Jesus did until his ultimate mission: our salvation. Peter experienced this power personally when, calling on the name of Jesus, he healed a crippled beggar.
Naturally, the local religious authorities weren’t happy about this. They had assumed that crucifying Jesus would disband his disciples and put an end to his influence. They didn’t count on the Holy Spirit. When the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law, along with the high priest and his family, asked Peter and John by what power or name they had accomplished this miracle of healing, Peter, filled with and emboldened by the Holy Spirit, replied: “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. . . . Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” The authorities couldn’t suppress the news about the miracle. The best they could come up with was warning Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ. Solus Christus. Stuart Townend wrote it beautifully in his modern hymn:
“In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.”