Peter and the Name of Jesus

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

This is the climactic declaration ending Peter’s three great messages in the early chapters of Acts (2:14-36; 3:12-26; 4:8-12). On the previous day, he and John had seen the crippled man healed at the temple gate, saying: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Testifying to the crowd that had assembled following the miracle, Peter said: “His name through faith in his name hath made this man strong” (Acts 3:16).

But what exactly is meant by “His name”? In biblical usage, one’s name stands for his character and all that he is and does. In his three messages, Peter actually used many different names and titles to refer to Christ. Note the following partial list: the Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, Thine Holy One, Christ, Jesus Christ, a Prophet, the Stone, the Head of the Corner.

To the multitude on the day of Pentecost, he had exhorted: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). To the Sanhedrin, he said: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole” (Acts 4:10).

Perhaps the most definitive form of “the name” was prescribed by Peter in the concluding statement of his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Thus He is the “Lord Jesus Christ.” HMM

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