then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Our Verse of the Day captures a portion of Acts 4; however, I think it best to go ahead and include a little more of the context so that you get a better sense of the declaration that Peter made to the people. I encourage you to read the entire chapter today, though. It’s good stuff!
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ SEE NOTE 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.”
NOTE: Here, the Apostle Peter (filled with the Holy Spirit) is boldly quoting Old Testament Scriptures which the Jewish rulers and elders would have been familiar. We can find the references to this spiritual metaphor in Psalm 118:22-23 and Isaiah 28:16. And it is prophesied in Zechariah 10:4 that the “cornerstone” would be a descendant of Judah. Even Jesus quoted this passage; and this is recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels at Matthew 21:42-43; Mark 12:10-11; and Luke 20:16-18. And Peter later quotes and discusses in his first epistle as shared below:
1 Peter 2:4-10 (NIV)
4 As you come to Him (Jesus), the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” (Cf. Isaiah 28:16) 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” (Cf. Psalm 118:22) 8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” (Cf. Isaiah 8:14) They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The theological significance of Psalm
118:22-23 and what Peter is sharing cannot be underestimated.
References to God as a “Rock” or a “Stone” abound in the Old Testament.
The metaphor speaks to the power of God; His steadfastness; His unchangeable
character; the secure, unmovable nature of His love; a place of spiritual
refuge; and His salvation. This metaphor is first used of God in Genesis
49:24 as Jacob blesses Joseph before his death. Moses uses this imagery of
God in Deuteronomy 32:4 affirming, “God is
the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A
faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” This theological
construct is developed further in the remainder of Chapter 32, and I
advise you to read it beyond the excerpt I share below. 1 Samuel 2:2 states:
“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides
you; there is no Rock like our God. 2 Samuel 22 captures
a Song of Praise written by King David that begins, “The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, and
my Deliverer; my God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge….” And many
of the Psalms make similar references to the Lord as “my Rock” and is it
paired with the Lord my Savior or Redeemer.
So I believe
it is safe to say that when Jesus quoted Psalm 118; the Jewish rulers
and leaders understood its theological implications. (Cf. Luke 20:19)
Likewise, when Peter quoted the same Scripture to the Jewish rulers and
leaders, the focus was on their “rejection” of the Stone or Rock … their
crucifixion of the Messiah … Jesus the Son of God. As the Apostle John wrote: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through
Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came
to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” (Cf.
John 1:10-11) Yet, rebellion against the revealed will of
God is nothing new for man in general … or Israel in particular. And what
is amazing is how much indifference we find in people – even ourselves – after
we have experienced first-hand the supernatural power of God in our
will find the same historical “hardness of heart” recorded centuries before in Deuteronomy
They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the
Rock their Savior. 16 They
made Him jealous with their foreign gods and angered Him with
their detestable idols. 17 They
sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently
your ancestors did not fear. 18 You deserted the Rock,
who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. 19 The Lord saw this and rejected them because He was angered by
His sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my
face from them,” He said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are
Surely the Pharisees knew the references …
and the application should be a forewarning to us! As Peter declared:
“Jesus IS ‘the stone you builders
has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name
under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” What is Peter saying here? When you reject the Rock, you
reject God! The Jews and unbelievers today have not only rejected the “Living Stone”,
the “Rock of Salvation”, and the “Rock of Refuge” … they have refused to accept
that Jesus is the “chief cornerstone”! Everything is built upon Him!
There can be no other plausible conclusion. When Jesus asked, “Who do you
say I am?” Simon Peter professed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living
God.” And how did Jesus respond?
Matthew 16:13-18 (NIV)
Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They
replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others,
Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” He
asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter
answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus
replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of
Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my
Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you
that you are Peter, (the Greek word for Peter means rock)
and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of
Hades will not overcome it.
You see, “rock” represents something solid … something you can
depend on to not fall or fail when weight or pressure is exerted upon it.
In this context it represents a trustworthy, pillar of truth upon which to
build our lives. Christ Jesus has been building His Church on this
foundation of all Truth: He is the Messiah – the Son of the Living God!
He is the cornerstone on which the rest of the building … His Body – the Church
is set … square and plumb … true and level. Jesus is the head of the
Church, His Body, of which He is the Savior. (Cf. Ephesians 1:22; 5:23;
Colossians 1:18; 2:19) So we need to understand this is the ultimate
question every human ever born or to ever be born MUST answer regarding Jesus.
Jesus testified, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes
to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) So now, each of us has to
answer Jesus when He asks us: “Who do YOU say I am?” And the answer
people give determines if Father God embraces them as His own … or if God hides
His face from them as unfaithful children. And it is this question to
which we have been called to urge everyone to embrace Jesus as Lord and
Savior. For Jesus IS the stone
that causes people to stumble and fall if they do not obey the message and come to Him to
receive salvation and eternal life….
Father God, I pray even now, that each of us would let this bold
sermon from Peter penetrate our hearts and minds. Convict our hearts,
Father God, and any who are not fully persuaded that You are the Rock … the
chief cornerstone … the foundation of ALL light and truth! Bring us into
submission and the obedience of faith – for you have appointed Jesus as the
head over every power and authority in heaven and on earth. Keep us
within you … and abide in us … that we might be faithful children to declare
your praises because you have called us
out of darkness into the wonderful light of your Son. Thank you, Father
God, for your everlasting mercies … and may the mercies of your love and
salvation be the rock upon which we continue to build our lives! May we always
be living stones … laid upon the sure foundation of your Son. For no one
can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ!
(1 Corinthians 3:11) Amen.
Well, I think that I will stop here…. I feel a bit carried away at the moment because I believe so strongly that we need to hear and share this message! Jesus is the stone the builders rejected … but to those who believe – who have come to faith in His Name … Jesus is the only name under heaven by which we must be saved! No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. We need to reach out to those who “stumble and fall” through unbelief in the message. Remember, faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17) This is the rock-solid truth upon which the Kingdom of God has been forged! Jesus IS the Messiah – the Son of the Living God! Upon this rock the Church – a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession – is built and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it!
So Now You Know….
Have a Blessed Day!