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  • Jim Odens

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. ¹²And 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 determined the direction and design of all the other stones. 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, Acts 4:5-7). After throwing their demand back at them and relating two parables showing the folly of their rejection of Him, Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22-23 and followed it with a warning about the outcome of their rejection (Matthew 21:24-44).

Jesus’ warning fell on deaf ears. The leaders arranged for His betrayal, arrest, illegal trials, and crucifixion, all the while thinking they were 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 was raised from the dead, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. God vindicated Jesus by fully accepting Him and His 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 included himself and John along with all his hearers when he said, “we must be saved.” There is a necessity referenced there, 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 Peter's audience. They were familiar with God’s proclamation of Isaiah 43:3a: “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Peter’s hearers 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). The idea that there is only one, exclusive Savior was not new to them. The key, however, was that this one, exclusive Savior was now being 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.”


For Reflection

  1. What expression of praise for God’s great gift can I give Him as I meditate on this verse?

  2. How will my reliance on Christ be reflected in my life today?

  3. Who will I see today that may need to hear the truth about the one, true Savior?

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