Thursday 22 December 2011

Bible Book:

"This Jesus is 'the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone'." (v. 11)

Acts 4:1-12 Thursday 22 December 2011


Here is the story of the arrest of Peter and John, and Peter'swords to a Jewish court in Jerusalem. Peter declares that they havebeen healing in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Peter usesthe words of Psalm 118 verse 22 to apply to Jesus: "Thestone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone."The cornerstone in this context was the highest capstone, linkingthe last tier of stonework together. The link Peter is making isclear: through the shameful death of crucifixion, Jesus had beendiscarded like a rejected building stone, but in being resurrectedby God, he has been raised to the highest and most important place,like the cornerstone. Peter goes on to make exclusive claims forJesus Christ: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is notother name ... by which we must be saved" (v. 12).

In common with the other readings for this week, here is the OldTestament interpreted by the first Christians as pointing forwardtowards the figure of Jesus Christ. Just as Paul used the psalms,among other parts of the Jewish scriptures, in Tuesday's passage, so Peter here uses words ofthe psalms to express the significance of what has happened in thelife, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The passage raises important questions for how Christians preach,teach and evangelise today. If everyone must be saved by the nameof Jesus, as Peter says here, what does that mean for the positionof Jews and Muslims today, those belonging to other faiths, andthose of no faith? Could salvation come through the name of Christto those who are outside the Christian Church?

To Ponder

Read further into the chapter (verses13-31) to see how the court responded to Peter's words anddeeds, and how the Church reacted to the events.

What do Peter's words in verse 12 mean to you forhow Christians should approach members of other faiths and thosewith no religious faith?

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