Nothing Else

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of believers now totaled about 5,000 men, not counting women and children. The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,    ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:1-12 (NLT)

There are so many things to ponder about this passage. The church leadership being “disturbed” by the ‘troubling’ experience that the disciples were sharing. Jesus rose from the dead. Here we are 2000 years later and often church leaders are still “disturbed” about Scripture that can not be contained and explained and generally controlled. God as an intimate, all-powerful, and passionately loving Father can be unsettling when I accept Him and enter into a relationship with Him! Hmmm – 5,000 people accepted and believed! Now that is Church growth!

No other name but Jesus.  That’s it …believe in Jesus.  Peter takes a page from Jesus’ style and doesn’t initially answer the council’s question. He poses one of his own. Revealing that the council isn’t ignorant of the Who but is actually more afraid of the What that came from the Who! Someone was healed in a ‘can’t-be-explained-away’ fashion. That bothered the leadership because they definitely wanted to explain Jesus away! But then Peter gives the clear answer: It’s about Jesus and the Good News. Salvation from the judgment that I deserve, the death that I deserve, comes only from believing in Jesus.  Believe that Jesus is who He said He is.  Believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  Believe that Jesus did what He said that He did.  Believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today.  That’s it.

Oh, how we want to make it more complicated and make ourselves seem more exalted by trying to make this ‘Jesus Club’ more exclusive. Some would say that you can’t be an alcoholic and really be ‘saved’.  Some would say that if I do not go to church every Sunday then I can’t really know Jesus.  I don’t read those mandates as the ‘exclusive’ in Scripture.  In some ways, it would make my life easier because then I could just have this list of rules and if I checked them off – then my relationship with God would be – limited and more easily defined, wouldn’t it?  Unfortunately, my Jewish brothers and sisters have already proven that a list of rules and regulations do not work. I cannot keep track of all the rules much less obey all of them. The laws, the commandments, are the light from God to lead me in obedience. Jesus did not abolish those laws but He came to cover us with His Blood so that when we fail, which we will, we have His atonement, His perfect sacrifice, to cover us and extend His mercy that forgives us. Jesus said that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that I can only come to the Father – through Him (John 14:6).  He didn’t say I could earn my way if I did … other things or did not do… others.  I was just to believe Jesus.

Living an obedient life, desiring to live to glorify God, putting my wants behind what God wants for me, and bringing myself along side God’s plan for my life that’s what I choose to do after Jesus saved me.  I choose to do these things because I love Him after He loved me.  There isn’t any way for me to get ahead of God and some how earn my salvation.

Salvation is a free gift.  Salvation is believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  No more but also no less.  It would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic how I struggle and work to make my relationship to God more complicated and difficult than it is.

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord?  Then we will have all eternity to worship our extraordinary Lord and praise Him for what He has done for us! All the other ‘stuff’ – well, let’s let God sort all that and let Him handle the details since He handles everything so well!

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