The Big Question
Who or what should we trust when it comes to the life and death question of our personal salvation? Why can’t everyone come up with their own answer? Orthodox Jews on a commitment to the Torah, Moslems on keeping the five pillars and trust in Allah, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs upon the teachings of their faith, and Christians in Jesus, then we can all celebrate our individual choices. Can’t we count on the Divinity that’s out there, if there is one, to give us all a passing grade?
When faced with all the animosity, fighting, and killing that’s gone on through the centuries in the name of God and religion, I’m tempted to go ahead and buy into this progressive, liberal, religious pluralism and smile. But before we place Jesus in the line-up with a host of other human saviors, we should at least read the first century source that presents how Jesus’ first disciples answered this question about salvation before the Jewish Sanhedrin.
“The next day their ruling officials, elders, and the legal experts in Jerusalem assembled, together with the High Priest Annas, and Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, members of the high-priestly family. They stood Peter and John in their midst and then asked, ‘By what power and by what authority have you done this (healed the disabled beggar)?
Then Peter being full of the Holy Spirit said to them, ‘Ruling officials of the people and elders, if today we are being investigated over an act of kindness done to heal a disabled man, let it be clear to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth--the one you crucified, the one God raised from the dead—by his power and his authority this man now stands before you healthy and strong. This Jesus, the one rejected by you, the builders, has now 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.’” Acts 4:5-12
The Apostle Peter, a Jew, did not hesitate to tell the official Jewish court in Jerusalem in the first century that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah, the rejected cornerstone, a rejection prophesied by Psalm 118;22. If you don’t accept the prophecy about the cornerstone, then listen to a Galilean Jew who saw Jesus alive after he watched him die at Golgotha.
If you still have questions, then simply look at the disabled beggar who now stood strong and healthy. Was this miracle of kindness the act of a demonic imposter, or is Jesus the only Name we can trust when it comes to our salvation?
Many Jews in the first century, including some of the rulers on the Sanhedrin, did agree with Peter’s testimony and accept Jesus as their Messiah. We’re going to have to wait all the way to the tenth chapter of Acts before Gentiles are allowed in on the incredible gift of salvation in Jesus alone.
LORD, thanks that the first century Saint Peter didn’t hesitate to tell his fellow Jews they needed to accept Jesus as their Messiah, the One who could forgive their sins. Help all of us to see that it’s not wrong to tell the truth about the One the Jewish Scriptures said would be rejected but then raised up by your power. Challenge those who read this Devo today to carefully read Acts, asking you to help them get the right answer to the salvation question.
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