May 21, 2020

There's Only One Way

Acts 4:1–22

7 Comments | Listen | Print | Full Chapter

Peter and John Before the Council

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus1 is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.2 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men3 by which we must be saved.”

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.


[1] 4:11 Greek This one
[2] 4:11 Greek the head of the corner
[3] 4:12 The Greek word anthropoi refers here to both men and women

There's Only One Way

Key Verse | Acts 4:12-13

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Bio | Mark Hapka

Greetings, Journeyers. My wife Amber and I began attending Watermark in 2013. We enjoy spending time with our two-year-old son Titus. Speaking of twos, today I serve with the Believe Team and Equipped Disciple because God used those two ministries and two distinct verses from today's Journey to alter my life in two ways. First, I became a Christian through the Believe Team by understanding, as Acts 4:12 states, that Jesus alone is the way to heaven. Second, through Equipped Disciple, I became rooted in God's Word by learning from the courageous men of Acts 4:13.

Central Truth

Against opposition, Peter boldly reiterates Jesus' message that eternal life is only found through faith in Him. Other gods and/or your own good works will not get you to heaven. This message was unpopular and annoyed many then, just as it does today. But we can trust in Jesus' authority.

Devotional | Acts 4:1–22

Have you ever thought you had the power to call the shots at school, work, or home, but opposed a greater authority? I have. In my pride, I find it difficult to admit I'm...

Have you ever thought you had the power to call the shots at school, work, or home, but opposed a greater authority? I have. In my pride, I find it difficult to admit I'm wrong. I'll justify my beliefs, but ultimately I'm not the authority on the matter.  

In Acts 4, Peter speaks to the gathering about his personal experience with Jesus, including watching Him heal sickness, raise the dead, forgive sin, cast out demons, control nature, and rise from the dead. Jesus undoubtedly has authority.

The "supposed" shot callers arrested Peter and questioned Jesus' authority. Peter proclaimed that there is no other name by which we can be saved. Faith in Jesus (John 5:24) is the only way to heaven for all mankind—not good works or other gods.

If Peter's words seem biased, consider that they reiterate Jesus' teaching. "I am the way . . . . No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) Jesus later calls God "the only true God" (John 17:3). The One with authority dictates the terms for entry into heaven.

These words cut to the heart of religious traditions. "Good" people don't go to heaven–only those who trust in Jesus' sacrifice for forgiveness of their sins.

Proverbs 14:12 prophetically states: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." A healthy dose of humility is required to admit that one's understanding of heaven may be incorrect.

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, we must decide if Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, or Lord of all and our Authority. He can't be just a good teacher or one of several ways to heaven. Those aren't options He left open for us to consider.

When one trusts in Jesus for salvation as Peter did, it noticeably changes their life's trajectory (Acts 4:13). They receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8), know truth, and speak it courageously (Acts 4:19). This observable life change results from spending time with Jesus. As a common man like Peter and John (Acts 4:13), I can and should spend time with Jesus through His Word and prayer, submit to His authority, and let it change my life.

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. Is Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life? If so, why do you need a Savior, and what does Jesus being Lord look like in your life? If He's not and you'd like to know more, please ask in the comments below.

2. Do you believe that there is only one true God and that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven for all mankind? (Acts 4:12; John 14:6, 17:3) If so, why? If not, does this make Jesus a liar or a lunatic?  

3. In Acts 4:19-20, Peter says we must speak of what we've seen and heard (even if it annoys others per Acts 4:2) and not fear man over God. In what ways are you fearful of speaking out and fearful of man? Will you confess this to a friend and memorize Proverbs 29:25?

4. Acts 4:13 labels Peter and John as uneducated, common men that spoke with great boldness because they had been with Jesus. You don't need to be on a church staff or have a theological degree to learn about and tell other people about Jesus. What have you learned about Jesus this week?

5. Has anyone noticed a difference in your life because of the time you've spent with Jesus?  

7 Comments available

Michael Scaman 3 months ago

The quote Peter and John used is from an important place, Psalm 118

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.”

This is the final Passover Psalm of the Hallal Psalm sung at Passover and they applied it to Jesus. Of course the leaders knew well this meant they were the builders making a big mistake.

Greg Jones 3 months ago

Acts4:1-2 Priest,temple guard, Sadducees come up to Peter and John, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus,the resurrection from the dead. We know this from Paul’s later disturbance in the temple: Acts23:8The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits.

V5-11The next day, the people who John knew and introduced Peter to after the arrest of Jesus(John18:15-16)show up and questioning begins, Peter’s boldness is seen. V12 Peter concludes, salvation in Jesus name, or Jesus,is our literal word for salvation. V13-21 The annoyed group see Peter and John as brave but uneducated and let them off with a warning.

The Jerusalem church will exist along with this power structure for many years. It will be interesting to see how the educated Paul’s trial will go in Jerusalem many years later. Consensus for freeing today.

Greg Jones 3 months ago

Mark really enjoyed your devotional this morning. The challenge you raise in Q3 is spot on. Thank you for the encouragement.

Michael Scaman 3 months ago

As far as no name given by which we must be saved, there are two places in Jeremiah where they also call God’s name “The Lord our righteousness” certainly true in Jesus.

Aaron Young 3 months ago

great to see your face and devo today! may God continue to be exalted through these two ministries.

Sue Bohlin 3 months ago

Thanks Mark! Wonderful devo!

2 things. First, there was no opposition to the testimony of the man healed by the power of Jesus. People may not like what we believe about Him, but nobody can counter the power of a transformed life. Nobody gets to say, “What happened to you isn’t true or real.” (Oh wait, unless you’re saying, “I used to be gay but praise God now I’m not” . . . That’s not believed.)

Second, Peter and John were seen as uneducated, common men, but when we read what they wrote in the Bible you’d never think of them as uneducated and common. They both write with power and elegance that is infused with Holy Spirit supernatural grace.

Oh, and I guess a third. Interesting that the resurrected Lord COULD have materialized into a meeting of the religious leaders, but He didn’t. Pearls before swine . . .?

Hugh Stephenson 3 months ago

GM Mark. Awesome devo. I love your last paragraph; “…observable life change…” Galatians 5:22-23.

Imagine the scene.

Everyone saw a supernatural healing. All Jewish authority is there confronting two uneducated fishermen from Galilee.

Imagine the buzz of the crowd!


“By what power or by what name did you do this?”

All eyes of this huge crowd turn to Peter…

Peter the knucklehead, Peter the schemer, Peter the denier…

Days earlier he drew his sword. This day he drew on the Holy Spirit.


The leaders saw the healed man. Peter uses the same Greek word “sōzō” to describe the healing of the lame man and being healed by Jesus. The demonstration of physical healing, spiritual healing and “observable life change” is visible in the man and in Peter.

Imagine the silence when Peter finished.

I pray for the Holy Spirit to give me this boldness.

View More Comments

Download The App

  • Jointhejourney app store
  • Jointhejourney play store