Saturday, April 25, 2020

Saturday of Easter 2

Life in His Name

Acts 4:1–12 (ESV) And as Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. 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.”

In John 20:30-31, the purpose statement of the entire Gospel is given. St. John recorded a selection of Jesus’ signs and the history of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection in order that the recipients of his Gospel “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing [they] may have life in His name.”

On Pentecost, to those who had come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). To be baptized in Jesus’ name is to be baptized God’s name—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). Only the name of Jesus can save; only God’s name can give life, and Baptism is the means for placing God’s name upon us. The goal of John’s Gospel--in fact, of the entire Bible!--is to persuade sinners to recognize Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of God,” to confess Him, and to receive the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins in Baptism.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand. Amen.

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