Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.
 

Sunday 22nd April 2018
Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts 4: 8-12     1 John 3: 1-2     John 10: 11-18

More than a Name.

Children’s magicians always seem to use the same magic phrase. As we wait for the dove to appear or for the glass of water to be empty, they wave their hands and say the magic word: “Abracadabra.” Everyone knows it’s just a made-up word, but we invest it with a magical power. It’s as if the trick wouldn’t work if we were to say “Badracadrama.”

When the officials in Jerusalem asked Peter how he had worked a miracle of healing, they wanted to know by what “power or name” he had done it. Peter’s reply was that it was not by any made-up secret formula but by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

There is power in the name of Jesus. This does not mean that it is magic. We don’t use it like Abracadabra, holding it out like a crucifix to ward off a vampire, or sprinkling it like holy water to make our roses grow. This is mere paganism dressed in a few Christian clothes.

To know the ‘name’ of Jesus is to know and trust in the very essence of who Jesus is. It is to experience the power of God’s Son, sent into the world to set us free; and this freedom allows us to get the most out of life. In the full flush of the resurrection, Peter was in no doubt that believers in the name of Jesus can call upon the power of God to save and raise up.

It was not by human effort that the Church grew and that people were healed. It was simply by the power of the risen Christ. Rejected by the wise, he became the champion of the so-called foolish. Our Easter faith, then, makes us confident to call on the name of Jesus in all our needs.

We are entitled by our baptism to bring before God all our plans, hopes and worries, so that, just as he raised Jesus from the dead, he will also transform our lives. We need have no fear when we call upon this power of God, for we do it in the name of Jesus, the name which is above all others and the only name which can save us.

 

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Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2018