Charlatan Builders and the Stone of Salvation (Acts 4:11-12)
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 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. —Acts 4:11-12
Builders are expected to know their trade. It is reasonable to assume they know where to build, how to build and what materials to use in the building. Yet those who fancied themselves the builders of the kingdom of God—the chief priests, rulers, elders and scribes of Israel—didn’t even recognize the key component of the structure, the stone which determines the direction and design of all the other stones. And now a Galilean fisherman dares to accuse them of spiritual ineptitude and blindness!
Peter was not the first person to quote Psalm 118:22 to these leaders. Jesus was confronted by these same people asking Him the same question they posed to Peter and John: “By what authority are you operating?” (Matthew 21:23, cf. Acts 4:5-7). After throwing their demand back at them and relating two parables showing the folly of their rejection of Him, Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22-23 and follows it with a warning about the outcome of their rejection (Matthew 21:24-44).
Jesus’ warning falls on deaf ears. The leaders arrange for His betrayal, arrest, illegal trials, and crucifixion death, all the while thinking they are contributing to the kingdom of God in their zeal.
Thankfully those builders are not the true constructors of God’s kingdom. God Himself is the true builder, and by His design, the very stone which the would-be builders rejected became the head of the corner for His kingdom. By God’s power, Jesus is raised from the dead, seated at the right hand of the Father, and given all authority in heaven and on earth. God vindicated Jesus by fully accepting Him and His finished redemptive work, making Jesus the central figure of His church and kingdom, the one around whom everything revolves.
Not only is Jesus the central figure in God’s kingdom, but also He is the only means by which any person can enter that kingdom. Deliverance is needed by all. Peter includes himself and John along with all his hearers when he states “we must be saved.” There is a necessity referenced here, the necessity of being saved from sin, death, and condemnation.
The wonderful reality is that there is someone who can save! That was nothing new to those to whom Peter spoke. They were familiar with God’s proclamation of Isaiah 43:3a where He declared, “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Peter’s audience also knew there is only one who can truly save, for in centuries past God had declared, “I, I am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). So the idea that there is only one, exclusive Savior was not new to them. However, the key is that this one, exclusive Savior can be positively, accurately, and confidently identified as Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Besides Him there is no savior.
“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
What expression of praise for God’s great gift can I give Him as I meditate on this verse?
How will my reliance on Christ be reflected in my life today?
Who will/may I see today that may need to hear the truth of one who can truly save?