November 8 – Prison Letters – The Name of Jesus

Read Acts 3:1-4:31

In anticipation of President Obama’s first inauguration, there were perhaps more questions about the inaugural prayer than any other aspect of the milestone event.  President Obama, you see, had asked evangelical pastor Rick Warren to offer the prayer.  Many wondered, “Will Rick Warren end the prayer ‘in Jesus’ name’?”

There is something both volatile and powerful in the name of Jesus.

That is nothing new.  If you read Acts 3 and 4, you saw that it was because of the name of Jesus that a man who was lame from the time of his birth was healed and able to walk!  That’s powerful!  But, it was also because of this name that Peter and John spent a night in prison.  That’s volatile!

In those two chapters, there are no less than nine direct references to the name of Jesus in eight different verses (3:6, 16; 4:7, 10, 12, 17, 18, 30).  Not only did that name lead to the miraculous healing of a man, but it is also the source of salvation available to all men.  Here is the way that Peter expressed it in 4:12

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12)

Don’t get me wrong.  The name “Jesus” is not a magical word like “hocus pocus” or “abracadabra.”  It is the person behind the name that possesses the power.  It was faith in the person that unleashed the power for healing (3:16).  And it is faith in the person that unleashes the power for salvation (Eph. 2:8, 9).

But be warned.  Neither the name nor the person has a good track record of being politically correct.  It landed Peter and John in prison.  In fact, even upon their release, the Council “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (4:18)  The politically correct response today heeds that instruction.

Real Jesus followers, however, are not ashamed of their Savior and His name.  Instead, like the two men who spent the night in jail, our response should be “we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (4:20)

Steve Kern

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