Power in the Name
Many years ago when I used to watch a lot of television, I remember watching a reality tv show. I don’t want to tell you the name of the show what I want to tell you is there was a person giving the gospel message and every time the Christian mentioned the name of Jesus the star of this show would just get up and walk away. It was subconscious I don’t even think the star of the show knew he was doing this.
That is the reality of the name of Jesus, His name has power. It is interesting you can get many different people together with differing religious backgrounds and each one will believe in a god and they may even begin to say oh all god’s are the same god. But once Jesus’ name is mentioned the dynamic of the conversation changes. The reason why is because there is power in the name of Jesus. We saw this power last week when Peter and John came to the temple and came across a man who was crippled from birth. This man was there begging for money but when Peter and John came along they offered him something much more valuable then money. They offered him a renewed life and the outward expression of the renewed life was strengthened legs. This man was now able to walk on his own. Well this man’s renewed strength was very obvious to all those who have seen him and know he was a crippled and so people began flocking to see the man and this event prompts Peter to provide yet another sermon and this sermon will point to the one who brought healing and to the crippled man. As we examine Peter’s sermon we will see this morning that the power of this man’s restoration lies in faith in the name of Jesus.
The Power of Salvation is Believing in the Name of Jesus
The Power of Salvation is Believing in the Name of Jesus
We will see this in Acts 3:11-16;
11 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14 “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. 16 “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
As we look at verse 11 we see that the crippled man who has now recieved the use of his legs is clinging to Peter and John. He is so excited and grateful for what God has done for him that he clings to two men who were used by God to bring about this incredible healing. His external expression of gratitude comes from the internal sense of overwhelming joy that can only come from the power of the Spirit renewing him, transforming him from a depraved and debilitated man with no hope of coming into the presence of God to a new man a new creature in Christ who can demonstrate the utmost joy and gratitude for his God and Savior. His standing before God has been changed for all eternity and now through the blood of Christ he is seen as Righteous when all those who have looked on him only saw him as a horrible sinner now can see God's glory in and through this man's renewed and transformed legs.
They are at the "portico of Solomon" which is important. Knowing the exact location of the "portico of Solomon.” The "portico of Solomon" is believed to be located inside the temple in the court of the gentiles. It is where Jesus taught and it is called the “portico of Solomon” because it was built on the original foundation of Solomon’s temple. Not much of the temple was left but this piece was. The people who are there see this man leaping, and walking and praising . I can't escape the fact this man can now walk after being crippled for 40 years his joy is obvious and his worship is not private but very much open and loud.
His overt worship brings people over and the people are amazed. He is not a con man he is not a charlatan he is the cripple everyone has seen for who knows how long begging at the gate of the temple. He is walking and leaping and praising God clinging to God's messengers and people notice. This man isn't the one who is taking center stage, God is taking center stage and the name of His Son Jesus takes center stage. Even though the nation has killed Him to rid themselves of this rebel who taught the truth about God and the Law and who had the power to forgive sins which only God can do He is still working with power and authority and the people marvel at Jesus' work. That is what is drawing the people to this man in amazement, it is an understanding that God is doing something great and amazing in and through the apostles and God is truly being glorified in this man's healing.
The people though misunderstand the healing and the power of this healing. This prompts Peter to respond to the crowds and explain to them exactly who Jesus is and by whose work is being done. Peter sets the record straight in his sermon. We see in verse 12, “But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power and piety we had made him walk?”
Once again Peter places the emphasis on God. Peter may be the preacher, the herald of God but his message is not about being morally pure or about works. It isn't a positive message filled with positive vibes. It is an honest message that points to God and His Son, His Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ and man's guilt in placing Jesus on the cross. Peter even makes the point that Pilate saw no guilt in Jesus but the nation of Israel condemned Jesus, an innocent man to death.
Peter also makes it very clear there was nothing he or John did to heal the man. They shouldn't be amazed at Peter and John because they don't have the power or the piety. This is unique in a selfish, self centered culture. Peter and John were not like others it was not about them Peter made sure they knew this the credit belonged to God and to Jesus Christ.
In Peter’s sermon he will establish for us why Jesus’ name has such power. The first reason Peter provides is Jesus is God’s Servant
The Power of God’s Servant
The Power of God’s Servant
Look with me at verse 13. Peter only provides here facts. “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant.” Here is the first of the facts, notice Peter points them to their covenant God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the God they have served and the God they have come to worship.
God introduces Himself to Moses this way in Exodus 3:6;
6 He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Look at what the Psalmist says about God being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob;
6 O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! 7 He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. 8 He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. 10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
They wouldn’t dispute this title of God in any way. Peter takes it one step further and associates Jesus with God by telling them God has glorified His servant Jesus. This points back to Isaiah and his prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, the suffering servant.
I want us to take a look at Isaiah 52:13-53:12 because as Peter is here mentioning Jesus being the servant God glorified we also find in Isaiah the fact that Pilate saw Jesus as innocent.
13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. 15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand. 1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 10 But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
Peter is pointing to facts that many of these people saw and if they truly knew their Hebrew Scriptures they would know when Pilate considered Jesus innocent and they saw Him as guilty they were enacting God’s prophecy. He places the guilt of Jesus going to the cross squarely on their shoulders. The nation delivered Jesus to Pilate and disowned Him or rejected Him all for the sake of their own sinfulness. The condemned an innocent man.
Peter has already began associating Jesus with God by calling Jesus God’s servant and saying God has glorified Him. Now Peter continues to associate Jesus with God by pointing to Jesus character.
The Power of His Character
The Power of His Character
In verses 14-15 we find three titles attributed to Jesus and each one deals with His Character and one with His work. Look at verse 14-15 with me, “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.”
Peter once again tells them they disowned Jesus but the names he attributes to Jesus is not just his given name which ironically means the Lord Save's or the Lord delivers. The names Peter attributes to Jesus here are three which call out His character and His position. First Peter combines Holy and Righteous One. This points to Jesus' character, Holy being set apart or sanctified. Jesus is not like all other people. He is set apart because He is God. Jesus is not only set apart by God, He is the only One who was set apart by God and stayed in this condition of being set apart by God. He doesn't do anything contrary to God in any way. Perfect in every way.
True Holiness is having no sin what so ever and Jesus is the only man who walked the earth who knew no sin.
26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
It is through Jesus we are called and set apart in this same way and look at what Peter tells the church in his first letter to the church.
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Second is He is Righteous, He is more then just Holy and Perfect He also has a right standing before God. The only One who has ever been born this way. No human being has ever been born in a right standing before God. All mankind has been born with the sin of Adam in our loins. We have been set apart from God not for God. The opposite of Jesus. We are not born in the flesh Holy. We also are not right before God. We fail in every way before God in our lives. Even as believers we don't have the capacity to do right before God. Thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Righteous One to ever walk this earth and now when God looks at me He looks at me through Christ and the righteousness that is in Christ God see that in me.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
The third is a title. He is a Prince tor another way to translate this word is author, He is the Prince or the Author of life. What a great title and the way He received this title is through His death. He was raised from the dead and being raised from the dead now He is the first fruits of the dead and now being the first fruits of the dead He is the Prince of all life. Jesus holds the title of King why here is He called Prince. The word for Prince is the same word for first or for author. It seems best to call Him Prince which means the same thing and doesn't lose any of its power because either way Jesus is the firstfruits of the dead, the Prince of all the living. Through Him all have true life and are set apart to serve God and are made right before God.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The Power of Faith
The Power of Faith
Here is what brought about the crippled man's strengthening, here is what brought about the man's perfect health. It was faith. Not that he first had faith but that faith was given him through the name of Jesus so this man would be made whole. So that he would be a new creature, a new creation and the focus shouldn't be the man's health the focus needs to be were it truly is, in the name of Jesus Christ. Peter tells them faith is in His name and faith comes through Jesus and was given to the man so he could have perfect health. I love how clear it is that faith is not even in us but it is given to us and it can only come from Jesus. That is powerful. God demonstrates mercy and God brings faith into the hearts of man. The man didn't chose God, the man didn't chose Christ, the man was chosen by God and faith was placed in his heart through Jesus and in the same way this man's health and strengthening didn't come from himself, his faith didn't come from him either.
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.