This Jesus, This Name (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
A formerly lame beggar walking in the name of Jesus was an offense to the religious leaders in Peter and John’s day. They responded to the miracle by arresting them. Acts 4:11-12 recounts their trial and Peter’s testimony about Jesus’ identity.
Lest there be any confusion, Peter clarified who was responsible for the lame beggar’s healing: This Jesus–the one from Nazareth, the one you crucified, the one God raised from the dead (v. 10). And not only that, but Jesus is also the cornerstone that Isaiah prophesied about long years before (Isaiah 28:16), and the name of Jesus is the only name that saves.
How did Peter’s declaration hit the religious leaders? They were already “greatly annoyed” (Acts 4:2) with Peter and John’s bold teaching and proclaiming–it’s what landed them in prison. After hearing Peter further proclaim that Jesus is the cornerstone and the exclusive way of salvation, the leaders “were astonished” and tried to find a way to silence them, “charg[ing] them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (4:18).
Peter and John’s fearless truth telling was an affront to the very religious leaders who should have recognized Jesus. They knew the law, they had spent their lives studying the prophecies, yet they rejected the very One they’d presumably spent their lives waiting for. How could they have been so blind?
It’s easy from our perspective to think they were obtuse. But we, too, were once blind to the glories of this Jesus. It is by grace that we receive the gift of faith and recognize Jesus as the cornerstone–the one Paul wrote about to the Ephesians:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
As the cornerstone, Jesus is the key stone, the living stone, around which all other living stones are placed (1 Peter 2:4-5). Members of His household are growing into a holy temple. How do we become part of this household? By believing in the name of this Jesus–the cornerstone–the eternal Son of God who came to save the world. This is no vague agreement. It is well defined and exclusive: believing in the name of this Jesus is the only way to be saved from eternal condemnation and punishment.
Our world is not so different from the one Peter and John lived in. We too face the scorn of people who believe there are many roads to God. What might God call us to suffer for the Name? At a minimum, today’s suffering will include dying to sin and self in order to conform to the Cornerstone. Jesus said “if you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15.) He always obeyed the Father (John 8:29) and He is the sinless standard against which we, the lesser stones in God’s house, are to measure our lives.
It’s easier said than done. How often do you resist the way of the Cornerstone, preferring your own way? Where does the siren song of worldly wisdom tempt you to measure your life by your own standards? How is it that a stone in the household of God can still resist conforming to the Cornerstone? Because we are not yet what we will be, we stumble in many ways (James 3:2).
We need Jesus’ daily help to love His ways and obey Him. But that’s precisely what He offers. Believers, we have the Spirit of Christ in us to convict us of sin and bring us into conformity with His standard. He is the plumb line of our lives. Jesus is the measure–and the means–by which we align our lives to Him, the glorious cornerstone.
What circumstances tempt you to disobey Jesus?
Confess your sins and ask God to conform your desires to His. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Ezekiel 36:26)
Ask God to help you boldly share the good news that Jesus is the way–the only way–to be saved.
Candice Watters is Mom to Harrison, Zoe, Churchill, and Teddy. She is the author ofGet Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen and editor of the Fighter Verses blog. Together she and her husband Steve co-authored Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. The Watterses are passionate about encouraging parents to disciple their children.