On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 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.”
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Since it’s the first Sunday of this blog, I thought it would be good to preach a little for the sake of the ecumenical audience we have here.
Peter, of course, preached the Gospel before the rulers of the people this day — the same Gospel, part and parcel, he preached at Pentecost. I mean: it’s the Gospel. But it’s funny what the rulers of the people took away from what he preached.
“They recognized,” Luke says, “that they had been with Jesus.”
Now, because this is Peter speaking, and this is Luke writing, we have to think a little about the last time someone recognized that Peter had been with Jesus (Lk 22:56-62). At that time, Peter denied the man, and cursed in doing so. So when Luke says here that they recognized Peter had been with Jesus, the context for us is that this is not the first time that has happened.
But this time, they don’t recognize Peter as merely a man who was hanging around. The recognize Peter as a bold man — an astonishingly bold man — and that somehow his testimony here makes it obvious that he was with Jesus.
Now, I started reflecting on this because my kids were in the back seat of the car singing that song about Peter and John and the lame man — “Silver and Gold have I none / but such as I have give I thee / in the name of Je-e-sus Chri-i-ist/ of Nazareth rise up and walk! / He was walking and leaping and Praising God! / Walking and leaping and Praising God! / in the name of Je-e-sus Chri-i-ist/ of Nazareth rise up and walk!”
On my side of the Protestant blogosphere, we often read Peter’s declaration of the Gospel here, and his command to the lame man, as merely functionary — declarations of doctrinal fact which the rulers have rejected as a point of systematics.
Except that this is Peter who denied Jesus, and this is Peter who just told the lame guy, “Because Jesus can do it, I’m telling you to get up and walk.”
When Peter says, “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well,” he’s talking about his Jesus. It’s like me talking about Phil Johnson or Dan Phillips — this Jesus whom I ate fish with; this Jesus who healed my mother-in-law; this Jesus who forgave me because I am a coward; this Jesus whom you crucified.
It is this Jesus, dear reader, about whom all the hub-bub is about — because he is a real man. This Jesus is the Jesus you better know, because only the real Jesus will do for a real you. 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.
Know it for certain today, and love this Jesus — believe in Him, repent, and be saved.