No Other Name

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

The setting in Acts 4 describes Peter and John earlier preaching to the people in the temple complex. The crowd surrounded them eager to see and hear what they had to say because Peter and John had just healed a man who had been crippled from birth.

On seeing the crowds the Sadducees turned up and heard what Peter & John were preaching. This greatly annoyed them because they heard  Peter and John teaching and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.  (Acts 4:2)

The Sadducees were the religious and political ruling party consisting of high priests, aristocratic families, and the wealthier upper social class of the Judean population. They were annoyed because, unlike the Pharisees, they did not accept or believe in any existence after death. Instead, they had a conservative outlook and accepted only the written Law of Moses. So to stop Peter and John spreading what they thought as heresy, and rebellion against the state, they unlawfully seized them using the temple guards. They then placed them in Jail overnight. The Sadducees denied that Jesus was the expected Messiah, and sought to quell all opposition to their rule, to keep them in favour with the Roman authorities.

However we read Peter and John's message was not in vain, for “many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.” (Acts 4:4)

The next day the two were brought before an assembled court consisting of the political establishment. Among the court were Annas the high priest and Caiaphas, who were present at the mock trial of Jesus and were instrumental in his death. They enquired of Peter And John “By what power or by what name did you do this?" (Acts 4:7) They are the leaders of Israel. They say what is your authority? If you walk into our temple and do these things, what gives you the right? They want credentials!  And Peter and John affirmed their leadership and governing power. They address them courteously as “Rulers of the people and elders” (Acts 4:8)

Then continuing their defence they pointed to the healed cripple, and full of the Holy Spirit said to them it was all done in the name of “Jesus Christ the Nazarene whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well."  (Acts 4:10) These words were astonishingly clear and direct.  You have rejected him and you have murdered the promised Messiah, but God raised him up! He is alive! Peter knows their exact involvement in the death and crucifixion of Jesus, he was right there, present at that trial. Back then Peter denied knowing Jesus and didn't speak up. But now he is speaking out boldly, directly accusing them. He is not afraid of the consequences, he loves Jesus more than preserving his own skin. You want to know where we get our authority? It is through Jesus! The Christ! The Anointed One!  And God has raised him up! It is through this same Jesus where our authority comes from. Peter is not holding back!  It is through this name, by him that this man stands before you healed, and saved. (Acts 4:10-12)

Peter and John then added, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” In other words not only can healing miracles be performed in his name, and this man saved, restored to full health; but you cannot be saved from your sins and enter heaven unless it is by the exact same name! There is life after death! There is resurrection and salvation, but only by believing, coming to Jesus the Messiah!

The court was amazed, astonished! Taken aback. They saw in these uneducated fishermen great boldness and courage. They also saw the healed man standing with them, and could not deny what had happened. So they threatened them, and let them off with a warning, not to speak or say anything at all in the name of Jesus. Don't stir up the people! But Peter and John answered them “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:19). The unbelief and rejection of Jesus by the rulers is astonishing. Despite all the evidence, and the words directly spoken to them. They had hardened their hearts. So we must learn that the good news of the gospel will not be accepted by all, only some will be saved. 
What of you?

Peter and John were adamant, they refused their demands.  You cannot stop us speaking about the name of Jesus! Christians today must take heart in this, and be bold before all authorities, courts and powers, for there is a higher authority that must be obeyed before that of man.  And if we ever find ourselves placed under similar circumstances, God through the Holy Spirit gives, provides boldness, courage, and brings to our minds the right words to say in any given situation. Their release ends the story we are considering at the moment.


Why is the name of Jesus so important in regards to our salvation?

Let me take you back to Matthews gospel, and an episode we read with Jesus regarding a paralysed man who was also healed by him. This man was lowered, stretchered down before him from the roof by his friends and placed at Jesus' feet. We read in Matthews gospel “ And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2)

Some of the scribes who were present and hearing his words were astonished, and muttered to themselves 'This man is blaspheming!' For they correctly thought only God can forgive sins! They were right, for here before them was the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ! So Jesus replied to them

“which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.“  Matthew 9:5-8

Once again, we see the miracle backing up the truth of Jesus' words, he is fully able to forgive anyone their sins. He has God derived authority! He is fully God, and fully man. We can only be saved by coming to God through Jesus Christ. We must confess our sins and repent of them.

Therefore we again see this fundamental doctrinal truth, that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. This is taught and upheld by Jesus himself. He alone has the power and authority to forgive sins, and save his people. How? By dying in our place upon the cross. Our sins were placed upon him, he was punished, and took the blame and pain we deserve so that God's justice is seen to be done, and rebel sinners can go free. There is salvation found, established, confirmed in the name of Jesus!  No one else. No other person or religion! No other way. This truth may anger many people including you. However these are not my words, but Gods own word.

Even the very name of Jesus speaks of his mission and purpose to be our saviour. In those days names had meaning and purpose, often lost in our forenames today. The name of Jesus that we read in our bibles originates from Latin. The equivalent Hebrew name is Joshua, originally meaning “deliverer.” It was a fairly common name in use at that time. However, we are told the real reason behind the name of Jesus. In Matthew we read “and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) This could be alternatively read as “will deliver his people”. The whole point of his earthly mission is stated here, given by the angel Gabriel who was sent to give Mary the good news. Jesus would be the ultimate deliverer and saviour! The promised and longed for Messiah would be born! Jesus is unique!

So today, why don't you come and bow your knee to King Jesus? Confessing your sins, your rebellion against him and his rule. He has been raised from the dead, he ascended and is now seated on the throne in heaven, far above all other powers and authorities.

This is what scripture says concerning him.

“And being found in human form, he (Jesus) humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-10)

He awaits the judgement of your own soul. So bow down to him now while it's not too late, accept him into your heart, and be saved from the wrath to come. He is coming again, he will return once again to this earth, but in glory and with all his angels, and he will judge the world. That means each and every one of us  For salvation is found in no other name.

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