Sunday, April 11, 2021

Acts 4.5-12: By What Name?

"By what power or by what name did you do this?" (Acts 4:7) That's what Peter and his fellow prisoners were asked. By what name? And Peter was not afraid to give an answer:
...if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Good answer, Peter. Of course Peter had to tack on a few more things that might have made his reception a little more awkward. He continued, "...whom YOU (emphasis mine) crucified, whom God raised from the dead." That Peter...going all in most of the time.

The important thing, though, is that Peter announced that anything being done by them was being done in the name of Jesus Christ. That name thing is important. Remember that Moses asked for God's name when he was being recruited to lead God's people out of slavery. If you can associate a person or activity with a name you can automatically know more about them. 
It's certainly true of art. An artist's signature is one of the ways to identify which paintings were done by which artists. That task is made more difficult when artists like Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) didn't have a consistent signature. 

Shown here are three of the dozens of different signatures the artist used on his drawings, prints, and paintings. His signature changed throughout his career. Sometimes he used initials, but sometimes his whole name. One of the ways that experts authenticate a "real" Rembrandt is by the artist's signature. Did the artist put his name on his work? Can we safely say that this particular print or drawing or painting show what a "real" Rembrandt looks like? There are plenty of people in the world who would be happy to trick someone into believing that a fake Rembrandt is actually a real one. One of the ways they try to do that is to add a signature - the name of Rembrandt. Experts work hard to be able to tell a real signature/name from a fake one.

In the same way, can the world look at those of us who identify ourselves with the name of Christ and call us examples of what someone like that should do and be ? If someone asks us, "By what name do you do these things, live your life, move through the world?" And we reply, "We live and move in the name of Jesus Christ." Would they believe us? Would they say that the name of Jesus looks "right" on us? 

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