The opening chapters of the Book of Acts present the picture of the world that appeared before the followers of Jesus after the events of the Great Passover – the Greatest Passover in human history. The expected Son of Man came, and He revealed God’s Glory through His mighty deeds, humility, and suffering on the cross. He was glorified on the day of resurrection as God’s Son and ascended to the Father’s throne. He promised to come back and put an end to suffering and death forever. 

But had the world around changed after that Great Passover?

It seemed that nothing had changed neither in nature, the social system, or in the people themselves. 

Human beings lived their everyday lives as before: the wicked ones continued to deceive, tyrants and usurpers oppressed peoples, countries fought each other, and diseases and suffering did not disappear anywhere.  

Has the promised Kingdom not come yet? 

No, the apostles did not think so, because the presence of their Master was too obvious and persuading, especially when they experienced the day of Pentecost and felt the power of the Holy Spirit upon them. 

That day, Peter healed a lame man who was sitting at the gate of the Temple and begging. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” – said then Peter. The lame stood and walked. This miracle itself meant the meeting of two realities - the world, which remained unchanged with its pains and wounds, and the Kingdom of Christ, which opened in power. Calling the name of Jesus Christ was nothing but the proclamation of His living presence, which overcomes the sin-corrupted world by the power of Christ's resurrection. 

This is the reality of the world after the Great Passover. We live in this reality too. The joy of the healing of the lame man, the preaching of the Gospel in the courtyard of the Temple was replaced by an arrest, a night spent in prison and an interrogation in front of the high priest's family members. 

The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is  “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” 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 4:5-12)

The corrupted world continues to live according to its own laws, and the invasion of the Divine is perceived by human beings as something hostile. Even by the people who believe in God. Even by the priests and theologians. 

‘By what power or what name did you do this?’

“Power” and “name” were understood as correlated concepts: “name” works a miracle because it proclaims the “power” behind it. We know of numerous Jewish incantations that have come down from those times, where different names of God were used to invoke His power. 

“By what name did you do this?” – they asked. “Which name of God did you invoke?” It is unlikely that they assumed the action of demonic power in the courtyard of the Temple. The answer surprised the priests and Sadducees: “By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead”. 

It was not “one of” God's names endowed with miraculous power. It was the only name that gives salvation. This is the name of the Son of God who conquered death. The religious authorities of Jerusalem could not deny this.

We live in a world that still follows the laws of sin. Often, we feel our depressing helplessness from the fact that we cannot fundamentally change anything. The kingdom of Christ, which lives through faith in Christ in our hearts, only increases this pain, because we feel the contrast between sin and holiness more acutely than the rest of people.

We acutely feel this pain now, during the war in Ukraine. We feel pain from the daily deaths of our compatriots, from the unceasing artillery and rocket shelling of our cities and villages by the Russian army. We cannot stop it. We feel pain because of the brutal and reasonless aggression against our country from the side of Russia. We pray but we cannot change the cruel reality of this world. 

Not all the lame men were healed in Peter’s time, not all the lepers were cleansed, not all the destitute were saved. But the Lord is acting now, as he acted then. He hears our prayers and answers them, although sometimes it seems to us that He is silent.

What should we do now? We invoke the name of Jesus Christ in our lives and experience the presence of His Kingdom right now, in us, among us and around us. And we see that He is still working. His name and His power are with us now, and we believe that the Day will come when the Kingdom of God will be revealed in all its glory.


Merciful and Holy God! 

You let us know the heavenly joy of your eternal peace, 
which you give in Christ Jesus. 
We tasted the happiness of being with You, 
and saw Your great deeds in our lives. 
O, Lord, but the world remains sinful, wicked, and hostile to You.

We often suffer from helplessness,
because we cannot change the terrible reality in which we live. 
But we see You nearby and now, 
You hear prayers and work miracles. 

Let the name of the Lord Jesus be proclaimed by us everywhere.
Let Your power act in us and through us. 
Let Your eternal Kingdom come. 

In the name of Jesus, our Savior. 


Rev. Dr. Dmytro Tsolin
Lviv, Ukraine  12.04.2024