Chris, a fellow blogger, from Arizona, asked me to write on Acts 4:12.
“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.”
The context of this verse is Peter and John’s defense before the Sanhedrin council following their arrest for healing the lame man. Peter boldly affirmed that it was “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.”
Ahh, the name of Jesus! A name that stirred up controversy among the unbelieving Jews! After conferring with one another, the rulers commanded them “not speak at all nor teach the name of Jesus.”
“But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
There is something special about the name of Jesus! It divided people then. And it does now. It irritates and angers unbelievers. Ask Britt Hume. Tim Tebow. Or Phil Robertson.
Saying “I thank God” on national TV doesn’t spark the same reaction. Why? Because “God” may mean anything or anyone to the hearer. Some ethereal Being. Allah. Or another Deity. But Jesus is specific! Jesus was a real person. He lived a perfect live. Called his followers to holiness. And claimed equality with God.
There’s just something special about that name!
Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” But the Bard of Avon was wrong! There is something in a name. The name Benedict Arnold stands for treason. But Patrick Henry stands for courage. A name can be a burden or blessing? Remember Johnny Cash’s song “A boy named Sue”?
A name speaks to the issue of identity. The wise man wrote, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver and gold. (Prov 22:1). The name of Jesus is great because of who He is and what He does.
Jesus is the most unique person in all of history. He has been given more titles, designations and metaphorical descriptions than anyone who has ever lived. There are at least 171 appellations attributed to Jesus.
Jesus is called the Ancient of Days. The Almighty God. And the Anointed one. He is the Beloved Son, the blessed of God and the Bridegroom. Jesus is called the Christ. The Captain of our Salvation. And the Chief Cornerstone.
Jesus is the Deliverer, the Divine Son, and the Door of the Sheep. He was called Emmanuel by the Angel, Master by his followers, and Rabbi by curious seekers. The Prophets identified Jesus as the Prince of Peace, the Root of David, and Redeemer of Israel.
The apostle Paul penned that Jesus was the Mediator, the Righteous Judge, and the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. John said Jesus was the Bright and Morning Star, the Beginning and the End, and the Alapha and the Omega.
Peter confessed Him as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Following the resurrection, when Thomas witnessed his riven side and nail scarred hands, he exclaimed, “My Lord! And my God!”
John the Forerunner simply said Jesus was “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
And Jesus? Well, he said, “I am the Way, The Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
His name is Jesus. How fitting. Because it literally means “saves.” Indeed Jesus saves!
I close with a beautiful tribute to Jesus by baseball player turned evangelist, Billy Sunday.
There is no name like His.
It is more imperial than Caesar’s.
It is more musical than Beethoven’s.
It is more conquering than Napoleon’s.
It is more eloquent than Demosthenes.
It is more inspiring than Washington’s.
It is more patient than Lincoln’s.
The name of Jesus throbs with all life.
It weeps with all pathos.
It groans with all pain.
It stoops with all love.
It breathes laden with perfume.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
Do you have a favorite Bible verse? Let me know and I’ll feature it in a future column