The Resurrected Jesus Lives
1. To Help And Heal His People
2. To Head His Church
3. To Save All Who Believe In Him
Text: Acts 4:8-12
Then Peter, having been filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people: If we indeed are being called to account today for a good deed done to an ill man, regarding how this man had been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you nailed to a cross, whom God raised from the dead, by this name this man stands before you healed. This One is THE STONE THAT WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, WHO BECAME THE CORNER-STONE. And there is salvation in no other, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
When our children are born, we wonder what they will live to do. They surely must have a purpose for living, as we all must have a purpose for living. If we do not, our life will be depressing and meaningless.
Jesus rose from the dead to live eternally for a purpose as well. When we confess in the Apostles Creed that he sits at the right hand of God, we do not mean he is sitting there doing nothing. He lives for a purpose, especially to rule over all things. Through this text we will discover The Resurrected Jesus Lives: To Help And To Heal His People; To Head His Church; To Save All Who Believe In Him.
Shortly after Jesus had risen from the dead and had ascended into heaven, Peter and John had gone up to the temple at the time of prayer when the temple was crowded. At the temple gate had sat a beggar, who had been crippled from birth. He asked Peter and John for alms as they approached the temple gate. Peter had told him that silver or gold he did not have, but what he had he would give the beggar. Then Peter told the beggar in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to walk. Peter had then taken the crippled beggar by his right hand and helped him to his feet. Instantly the beggar’s feet and ankles became strong. He not only walked but leaped for joy, praising God.
This had been an astounding miracle. Everyone who came to the temple knew the beggar could not walk. He had never walked in his life. Instantaneously, however, without long physical therapy and rehabilitation, the man had not only walked but leaped about joyfully. When the people in the temple had come running to see this healed beggar who held on to Peter and John, Peter had told the people that it was not their own power or godliness that had made the man walk. No, the God of their fathers had glorified his servant Jesus. They had handed Jesus over to be killed. They had killed the author of life, but God had raised him from the dead. Peter and John were witnesses of that. And it was by faith in the name of Jesus that the man whom they were seeing and knew was made strong. It was Jesus’ name and faith that had healed the beggar. Then Peter told the people to repent and to turn to God, so that their sins may be wiped out.
It had been by the power and grace of the resurrected, living Jesus that the beggar had been healed. When the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees had heard this, they had arrested Peter and John. They had them held in the jail over night for trial in the morning.
Our text is a portion of that morning trial. Peter, John, and the beggar stood before the ruling council of the Jews. The council asked Peter and John by what power or name had they healed the beggar. The council was seeking some grounds for a criminal charge against them, perhaps witchcraft and sorcery, or preaching falsehoods.
“Then Peter, having been filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, 'Rulers and elders of the people: If we indeed are being called to account today for a good deed done to an ill man, regarding how this man had been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you nailed to a cross, whom God raised from the dead, by this name this man stands before you healed.' ”
Jesus had told his disciples that when they were brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, they should not worry about how they would defend themselves or about what they would say, for the Holy Spirit would teach them at that time what they should say. This is what the Holy Spirit did for Peter. He enabled Peter to respond in such a manner that the Jewish rulers were put on trial for making the apostles’ act of kindness to the cripple a crime.
Since the council wanted to know by what power and name the cripple had been healed, Peter said they should know that he had been healed by the power and name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had crucified but whom God had raised from the dead. Jesus lived to perform this great miracle through them by his power and grace. Jesus healing the cripple verified he had risen and lived to help and to heal those who were his.
Jesus rose from the dead and lives! Since Jesus lived to help and to heal the crippled beggar, shouldn’t we know that he lives today to help and to heal us by his power and grace? We only need take our problems and hurts to him with believing hearts and call on him to help and to heal us. Psalm 50:15 urges us: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” But do we call on him and trust in his mighty power to help and to heal us? Jesus lives to help us through our problems as he guides us through life to our heavenly home. When we don’t see a quick response to our prayers and the remedy to our problems, however, how quickly we become dejected and with grave doubts question why he has not come to our rescue. Jesus lives to heal our ailing bodies until he calls us home to himself in heaven. Psalm 103:2, 3 tell us: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.” Yet when we are suffering from ill health and have prayed that Jesus would heal us and make us strong, how quickly our faith falters when we do not see ourselves getting better at once.
Jesus lives to help and to heal us by his power according to his good and gracious will for us. During our lives we have become sick and have become better. We credit our restored health to the physician who doctored us and to the medicine he prescribed. We credit the physician and medicine, failing to see that Jesus used them as his instruments to restore our health, just as he used Peter and John as his instruments to heal the beggar. In the beggars case, Jesus used a miracle to heal him to support the apostles preaching of his gospel. Throughout our lives he uses natural means to heal us--doctors, nurses, and modern medicines.
He can miraculously intervene in our ill health if and when it is his will do so. So long as we have the breath of life, we have the hope, and should trust, that no matter how ill we may be, Jesus lives to help and to heal us if it is his will to do so. A professor of mine told me of such an instance that occurred during his parish ministry in the fifties or sixties. A woman in his congregation had exploratory surgery for cancer. Her cancer was so wide spread throughout her body that the doctors could do nothing for her. They gave her six weeks to live. Ten years later she walked back into that hospital for a routine check-up! She did not have a single cancer cell in her whole body! The living Lord Jesus quietly, without fanfare or miracle faith healers, had healed her completely. He lives to do so for us also if it is his will. Should healing us not be his will for us, his will is to take us home to himself in heaven, which is far better for us than life here on earth.
Jesus lives, not only to help and to heal us, but to head his church. Peter reminded the Jewish council that they had crucified Jesus Christ. God, however, had raised him from the dead. Peter quoted Psalm 118 and told them, “This One is THE STONE THAT WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, WHO BECAME THE CORNER-STONE.” The Jewish religious leaders were supposed to have been the builders of God’s church by leading the people to God’s promised Christ. They, however, had rejected the very one who was God’s Christ. God had verified Jesus was his Christ by raising him from the dead. Jesus was the cornerstone, or capstone, of God’s church.
In those ancient times a stone that had two sides at a right angle was carefully selected for constructing a building. The front and side walls were laid out in line with the stones front and side faces to form a square structure. As the walls were built they were also plumbed and built erect in line with the faces of the stone, so the walls stood upright without leaning in or out. The whole structure was built up and around and upon that cornerstone.
Jesus is the cornerstone of Gods church. The whole church of living stones is built up and around and upon him. By rejecting Jesus Christ the Jewish leaders had rejected Gods church and religion. Without Jesus Christ they had nothing.
Jesus lives to be the head of the church. The church and religion of God must be built and founded on him. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 3:10, 11: “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise architect I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But let each man take heed how he builds on it. For no man is able to lay another foundation other than the one which is laid who is Jesus Christ.”
Let us not slip into thinking we can make the church grow in numbers in any other way than the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Clever gimmicks that may attract peoples attention and entertain them are not what the church is built upon. Nor is the church of living stones and souls built upon the brick and mortar of a magnificent structure. What builds the church that God wants is the preaching and teaching of his Word that centers in the proclamation of Jesus gospel.
For good reason we build God’s church on Jesus Christ, for he lives to save all who believe in him. Peter told the Jewish council, “And there is salvation in no other, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Let me tell you a little story. Three men died in an automobile accident. One was a self-righteous man. One was an idolater. One was a Christian. They all stood before the judgment seat of God. God asked them, Why should I allow you to be saved from hell to live forever in my heaven? The self-righteous man answered, Because I tried to live a good life and obey your commandments. I went to church. I donated money. I did good things for others when I could. God told him, Depart from me into the outer darkness of hell and let me never see you again! Trying is not good enough! You should have been perfect and righteous as I am. So Gods angels cast the man into hell with the devil and the wicked. The idolater then answered, I had a faith. I worshipped my god. I prayed. I followed the rules of my religion. I did the things I was told would save me. God said to him, But I am the Lord. You did not worship me by my name the Lord. You did not confess me as the Father, nor honor my Son, nor call on my Holy Spirit. You glorified not me but a demon who masqueraded as me. Away with you! So Gods angels cast the idolater into hell. Then the Christian answered, I believed your Son, Jesus of Nazareth, died as the payment for my sins and was raised to life as the pronouncement of your forgiveness. God said to him, Well done, my faithful son, enter the kingdom of heaven that my Son, Jesus, prepared for you.
Salvation is found in no one but Jesus Christ. We cannot save ourselves, for we are sinners who have disobeyed all of God’s commandments. No idol can save us either. Only the Lord Jesus can save us. He is the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through him. Only Jesus can save us, for he died for our sins to save us from the punishment in hell that our sins deserve. His death removed the guilt of our sins from us and opened the gates of heaven to us. He resurrection assured us of eternal life. Only through faith in his sacrificial death and resurrection are we saved, for Jesus has said in Mark 16:16: “The one who believed and was baptized will be saved; but the one who did not believe will be condemned.” The risen Lord Jesus lives to raise us from the dead and to save us from hell.
So believe in the living Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. He lives to help and to heal us. He lives to head his church. He lives to save us who believe in him. Amen.