1 July 2022Acts 4:1-12
'There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.' (v. 12)
The Jewish historian Josephus has told us much about the various sects of Jewish thought during the first century when Jesus was ministering. Dominant among them were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees were larger in number, and counted most of the rabbis and teachers of the law among their number. They believed in the authority of all the books we now describe as the Old Testament (so Genesis to Malachi), whereas the Sadducees only believed the first five books were authoritative. This led to differences in theology between them. As Paul tells us in Acts 23:8, “The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three.”
There was also a significant political difference. The Sadducees dominated the high priestly family, ie all those who were questioning Peter and John. They were greatly disturbed to hear anybody preaching about the resurrection, and they had the power to put on trial those that they opposed, as Jesus had experienced a few weeks previously.
In our passage today, their question is very specific – "by what power or what name did you do this miracle?" (v. 7) They believed that a name carried spiritual authority. And Peter agreed with them, since he explicitly answers that it was "the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" (v. 10) that performed this healing. Then Peter goes further: "there is no other name under heaven among mortals by which we must be saved." (v.12)
The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth has huge power. There is no more powerful name or authority by which we can approach anything. It is so powerful that it is able to bring salvation to all who choose to shelter underneath it. It is able to heal, and even to raise the dead. And it should unite together all the various strands or sects of believers. Without Jesus we have nothing… with Jesus we have everything.
- What power do you believe there is in the name of Jesus?
- If someone believes in Jesus, what other things stem from this belief? Or to put it another way, what things unite all believers in Jesus?
Lord Jesus, help us to understand the true power there is in your name. May we be good stewards of the authority you have given to us through it, and use it to further your kingdom. Amen.