BIBLE READING: Acts 4:1-12
TEXT: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
To some modern ears it appears a bit arrogant to claim that our way is the only way. I guess that is partly what lies behind this question. It does at first glance sound like we are saying, ‘we are right and everyone else is wrong!’ And it does sound a lot more reasonable and nice to say that, whilst there is one God, there are many ways to that God, of which Jesus is only one. It sounds nice. But if you stop to think about it, it doesn’t make much sense.
Suppose you come to visit my city (Dundee in Scotland), and you don’t really know the area but you want to go and visit the lovely wee town of St Andrews, just fifteen miles away. You go into the city centre and you ask a group standing there, ‘How do I get to St Andrews?’ One man says that you need to head up the road to Aberdeen and you will get there. Another says, ‘You need to take the road to Perth and keep heading West.’ A woman interrupts and declares, ‘Get in a boat at the harbour and go to Norway.’ Whilst another says, ‘Head due north over the mountains and you will get to St Andrews.’ Finally a small girl says, ‘No, you need to go over the Tay Bridge and then turn left and soon you will come to St Andrews.’ The others all turn on her and shout, ‘How dare you be so arrogant! What makes you think that there is only one way?! And why do you think your way is the right way?’ The answer of course is because it is! And it’s exactly the same with Jesus. He is the only way. There is no other name under heaven given to all humanity by which we must be saved.
Why is that the case? Well, consider the following questions: Who else is perfect? There is none good – no not one. Except Jesus Christ. No sin was ever found in him. Who else spoke such truth and such beauty? When people heard him speak they were amazed because he spoke as someone who had authority and who knew what he was talking about – unlike the religious teachers who spoke about God from their limited knowledge – he came from the heart of the Trinity and told us what he had heard. They at best, spoke about God. He spoke the words of God. Who else is going to die for you? Most of the religious leaders in the world expect people to die for them, but Jesus died for his people.
Who else is the Son of God? Who else is the source of light, life and love? Who else did the Father give? The ‘name’ is important here. Because every time God reveals his name in the Bible it tells us something about him. He is Yahweh (I am who I am, the eternal one). He is Jehovah Jireh (God my provider). He is the Lord. He is the Shepherd. The name of Jesus means ‘Saviour’. He is the Saviour. He is the only Saviour. Mohammed, Buddha, David, Paul, Mary, or any of the thousands of people or supposed gods cannot save us. Only Christ can. Salvation is found in no one else. It is at the name of Jesus that every knee will bow.
In the early church, the Christians who were being persecuted had a special sign – the sign of the fish. The Greek word for fish is ‘ichthus’. The Christians took the first letters of the words in this phrase – Iēsous Christos Theou Yios Sōtēr’, (Translated it means Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour) to spell ichthus. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the only Saviour. This is the opposite of arrogant. Because Jesus is the Saviour for the whole world he is not the God of one culture or one way of life. He is the Saviour of the world. Peter and the disciples were told by the rulers, elders and teachers of the law in Jerusalem, not to speak anymore about this ‘name’. But their response was brilliant and should be ours: ‘We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20). There is a Saviour and his name is Jesus.
CONSIDER: Why is it not arrogant to say that Jesus is the only way? What is different about Jesus compared with every other supposed saviour?
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING: Magnificent Obsession – David Robertson
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Saviour. You are our only Saviour. You loved us and gave yourself for us. To whom else can we go? You have the words of life! Please reveal yourself more and more to us. We want to know you more, because to know you is to love you. We ask it for our good and your glory, Amen.
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