"With that, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, let loose: 'Rulers and leaders of the people, if we have been brought to trial today for helping a sick man, put under investigation regarding this healing, I'll be completely frank with you -- we have nothing to hide. By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One you killed on a cross, the One God raised from the dead, by means of His name this man stands before you healthy and whole. Jesus is the 'stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone.' Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been given or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one.'" Acts 4:8-12 (The Message).
Now the fat's in the fire!
Peter could not have stated his case more clearly or thrown down the gauntlet more emphatically than he did at that moment! His words were loaded with truth, courage, boldness, conviction and challenge. He, a Galilean fisherman with no more training than three years with Jesus, was standing before the highest and most powerful religious court in the land and indicting them!
It's history repeating itself. Only a few months before, Jesus had stood before the same court on trial for His life; yet He was the real judge and the court the accused. Now His followers were in the same position. It was religion going head-to-head with truth all over again.
Jesus had promised His disciples: "'These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands, and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.'" Mark 16:17-18 (NIV).
The unseen kingdom of God had once again become visible through a miracle of God's love and grace which had set a man free from the chains of disability. Everything imperfect is evidence that we are still living in captivity to a fallen world. Jesus brought with Him the good news that it would not remain like that forever. Little did these arrogant religious bullies realise that they had played a part in putting God's plan into action by sentencing the innocent Son of God to death.
Wherever the apostles went, they heralded and demonstrated the power of this kingdom that would one day take over all the kingdoms of the world and restore all of creation to its original perfection. This would inevitably lead to a clash between God's kingdom and the kingdoms of this world over which the prince of this world presides for now.
Peter insisted that the 'stone the builders rejected, was now the cornerstone' of this building Jesus was working on - a spiritual temple built out of living stones, every person who trusted in Him for salvation, not in the puny and futile 'righteousness' the religious leaders were so proud of and so confident in.
The problem in our world is that the bold confidence in asserting this truth is interpreted as 'religious intolerance' and 'hate speech' and in some countries, even those that pride themselves on being 'free', is a reason for arrest and imprisonment. According to the opinion of the world, all religions are equal, and that may be true if we consider that Jesus did not come to found a new religion but to reveal the Father and to open the way for mankind to be reconciled to Him.
So we, who believe in Jesus, continue to assert that He is the cornerstone and that there is no other name by which we must be saved because He alone is the mirror image of God and the way to the Father. All over the world, governments and individuals are killing the messengers but they cannot kill the message because truth is indestructible.
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