The next day, after a night in prison for preaching Jesus as the Christ in hostile territory–the Temple.  Peter and John are put on trial by the rulers and elders and scribes of the Jewish religion. 

The prosecution: “By what power or by what name did you heal this man?”

The defense [filled with the Holy Spirit]: “by the name of Jesus…whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead…[who] has become the cornerstone…And there is salvation in no one else”

That is some heavy stuff!  The defendants have become the prosecutors “You crucified the Author of life!”  What we need to glean from this trial is threefold: 1) the Spirit works in times of adversity 2) Jesus is the cornerstone upon whom all things stand or are crushed and 3) There is salvation in no one else.

1) The Spirit works in times of adversity. So p(r)ay attention!

Peter and John are on trial for preaching Jesus (the radical capitally-punished rabbi) as having equal status with Yahweh.  These guys are in deep trouble.  That is not a light thing to do.  It is a similar thing for a Christian to go to Mecca and saying, “Jesus is the only begotten son of God whom God has annointed and raised from the dead. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”  That would not go over well…at all.  It is an extremely offensive idea.  But Jesus was regarded as a heretical, delinquent, cult leader in the minds of most Jewish leaders.  So how did Peter and John end up preaching this gospel while on trial?  Answer:  the filling of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can and will empower believers to withstand adversity and bear witness to Jesus in the midst of it.  However, sometimes we are not filled with the Spirit.  What then?  We speak the gospel.  In Acts 10:44, Peter is preaching to a group of Gentiles and while he is still speaking, the Holy Spirit falls on them.  The point?  We need to be speaking and sharing the gospel at all times.  However, no one will be saved unless the Spirit falls.  We can’t control the Spirit, he is like the wind. Put your sails up!

2) Jesus is the cornerstone upon whom all stand…or are crushed

Think Jenga.  Jesus is like the bottom corner.  If you remove it, the whole thing is going to crash.   Likewise, without it nothing can be built. 

Your whole life must be built on this one stone: Your identity, your pursuits, your relationships. 1 Peter 2:5 calls all believers “living stones” being built up to be a holy priesthood.  We, as a body of believers are a wall.  Jesus is our cornerstone. When Jesus is truly the cornerstone of your life, your family, your church — Christ’s mission will be carried out.  The Body will function correctly, and when the Body functions correctly, it catches the wind of the Spirit and people get saved.  However, sometimes we have to take a look at our wall and make sure Jesus is our cornerstone.

3) The message of the Spirit: “There is salvation in no one else”

Basically, there are two ways to expound on the exclusivity of salvation.  One way is to talk about it in light of other religions.  No one worshipping Allah, Buddha, Mother Nature, or any other idol will be saved.  Even the Jews, who worship Yahweh, will not be saved apart from Jesus.

The other way to talk about this is in striving for salvation by our own good deeds.  Salvation is possible ONLY by what Jesus has done, it has NOTHING to do with what you have done.  Even repentance is a gift from God.  We can’t even repent unless God grants it (2 Timothy 2:25)!  “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  How is one saved? By God enabling us to put our faith in Jesus’ atoning death for our sins.  No credit is due to us whatsoever. 

Ask yourself this…

1.) How can you have the gospel on your lips in times of adversity?  Put your sails up to catch the wind of the Spirit.

2.) What is the cornerstone of your life? Family? Church?  What kind of fruit is being born?

3.) Do you need to refine your thinking of the exclusivity of Jesus?  Get ready to be intollerant.

Parents..

– Talk with your teen about the cornerstone of your family.  Demonstrate repentance if the cornerstone is not Jesus.

– Teach your teen how to respond to questions like, “How can you be so intollerant?”

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