7th December 2016

At The Name Of Jesus

Then Peter said, ‘Only Jesus can save people from the result of all the wrong things they have done. There has never been another person in the world that could do this. God has not given any other man the authority to save us.’”
Acts 4:12 (Easy English)

Imagine the scene in Acts 4:1-11 … your leader and close friend has died and risen; you want to tell everybody about this ‘gate’ that’s now open to everyone. It’s a free country! You stand up in the main synagogue and tell whoever is willing to listen. Yet it’s not until you miraculously heal a 40+-year-old life-long lame man, a person who has never ever walked, that the crowd’s attention is piqued. Oh dear, the local politicians and policemen become upset at the interest and attention you are now receiving. Their excuse for putting you in prison … because you say “Jesus became alive again after he had died” (Acts 4:2) – what blasphemy!

The next day you’re standing in front of ‘the’ top leaders in the community and being asked who gave you the authority to make someone walk—their concern clearly not for a man who need no longer rely on the local benefits system of almsgiving and whose quality of his life had just improved in leaps and bounds (yes pun intended!). Fortunately for Peter and John, (verse 8) the Holy Spirit told Peter what to say to the Sanhedrin. Their answer in verse 10: “This man is standing with us in front of you. His legs are strong because Jesus Christ of Nazareth is powerful. Jesus has the authority to do this.” This lead-in allowed Peter to make the statement “God has not given any other man the authority to save us.” The key note of Peter’s response is to point people to believe in Jesus above all others as our saviour.

As we read further into Acts 4:18-21 the worried Sanhedrin say, “You must stop using the name of Jesus. You must stop talking to people about Jesus.” “You must not speak or teach people again about Jesus.” And in a fit of temper “Peter and John, you must not speak to the people again about Jesus. If you do not obey us, we will punish you” (EE interpretation)—an empty threat, as under what law could they be punished for healing a cripple?

In John 3:17 we read “God sent his son to save the people in the world.” And the familiar verse 16 reminds us that people need to believe in His son. But how can people believe in Jesus unless they have heard his name? (Romans 10:12-14) That’s our cue! God called us to witness—to proclaim the name of Jesus. Does that mean we should stand up in London’s Leicester Square on a box and shout to the crowds? Perhaps for some that is a yes, but for the majority that’s a no. How do we proclaim God’s saving grace? Simply by living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with all we come into contact with, whether that’s shopping for groceries in Lidl or Tesco; being attentive to the needs of others at work, church, or at home; or loving our neighbours. As the saying goes, ‘Preach the gospel and if necessary use words.’ If the opening is there, allow the Holy Spirit to speak for us, as He did for Peter above.

In concluding, the title is taken from the hymn ‘At The Name Of Jesus’, written by a vicar’s daughter, Caroline Noel, a year before her death in 1877. Verse six proclaims ‘Name him brothers, name him, with love strong as death, But with awe and wonder, and with bated breath! He is God the Saviour, He is Christ the Lord, Ever to be worshipped, trusted and adored.’ Only the risen Christ has the authority to save you, me and everyone else.

Prayer
Lord God, please help me through my actions and outlook to point others to Jesus Christ, so they too may believe and be saved.
Amen

Study by Irene Tibbenham

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About the Author: irenetibbenham
Irene Tibbenham is a deaconess in the Norwich Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane
NORWICH NR1 2HX

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

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