“… 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 men by which we must be saved.” (verses 10-12)
I am struck in this passage by the unrelenting forward movement of the power of salvation in Jesus’ name. It’s unstoppable. Try as they might to contain it, the elders and teachers of the law are powerless to do so. “What are we going to do …?”, they ask (verse 16).
Even when Peter and John are initially arrested, the number of those who have heard and believed grows to 5000 men. This is phenomenal growth with irresistible spiritual dynamic.
And these are men transformed. We see it so starkly in Peter’s life. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he doesn’t hesitate to put his finger directly on the issue at hand, subtly rebuking these leaders for getting tied in knots about “an act of kindness shown to a cripple” (verse 9). More courageously yet, he doesn’t flinch in naming the One in whose name this miracle has been done – “Jesus Christ of Nazareth”, boldly combining Jesus’ earthly and heavenly credentials.
What a difference from his fear-filled response to the servant girl round that fire just a few months earlier! He knows the risen Lord. He’s filled with his Spirit. He knows there is no other name!
Such boldness completely catches the opposition off guard. They don’t know what to make of it, for these are “unschooled, ordinary men” (verse 13). Flustered, they chide Peter and John, commanding them to stop speaking in this name. But the two are undeterred: “we cannot help speaking what we have seen and heard,”they say (verse 20).
Neither can the assembled church. Gathered in Jerusalem, hearing the report from Peter and John, they ask the Sovereign Lord not for protection or safety, but rather for increased opportunity to proclaim Jesus’ name with great boldness.
The Lord is carrying out his plan. His mission is going forward, beyond all earthly expectation. Rather, the will of heaven is being played out. These disciples are emboldened by the very presence of Jesus himself, the Spirit filling them, shaking the house, clothing them with power from on high. It is glorious.
May the Kingdom so move forward in our day, that the unrelenting good news of Jesus spills forth with boldness and determination.
Sovereign Lord, consider the roadblocks to good news today. Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand with healing and signs and wonders. Capture your people with the sheer wonder of good news.
In Jesus’ name.
Pray: Offer yourself to the Lord afresh as an agent of his good news. Ask for the renewed empowering of his Spirit to speak-out and live-out the presence of Jesus. Watch for the opportunities that open before you this day.
Photo by Jason Betz on Unsplash