WE HAD A DISAGREEMENT in Sunday’s Bible study, my good buddy and me.
We couldn’t agree on the name of Jesus.
In a nutshell, which is certainly not where my friend belongs except when we talk politics, he said he thought “There’s something about that name.”
I said I didn’t think so.
Apologies to songwriters Bill and Gloria Gaither.
We were talking about John 17:11-13.
- “You have given me your name.”
- “I have protected them by the power of the name you gave me.”
The name of Jesus has become pretty important to Christians, much like God’s name is to Jews – many Jews spell it G-d out of reverence, as though they are unworthy to even write the name.
We Christians do the opposite. Out of reverence, we say the name of Jesus all the time. Many of us often end our prayers, “in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
I’ve heard some Christians say it’s a requirement: When we pray we need to invoke the name of Jesus because that’s what Jesus told his disciples to do.
“Ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:14).
As though, “If you don’t ask in my name, don’t expect anything.”
The more I chew on the idea that there’s something about that name, the more I choke on it. Kinda like a ball of gristle on a steak; the more you chew it the bigger it gets and the more you want to spit it out.
Certainly there’s something endearing about the name of Jesus. It makes us feel warm when we hear it or when we say it.
But it’s not because of the name itself.
It’s the man behind the name.
It’s not his name that’s magical: powerful enough to protect us and to give us what we need.
What’s powerful, protecting, and generous is the person the name represents.
The name stands for the man: the Son of Man, God’s Son, Jesus Christ…whatever we choose to call him.
Jesus is a word that stands for the character, the compassion, and the very essence of the man. It represents everything that makes him Him.
Our name represents everything there is about us…all that we are.
No wonder when Moses asked God what his name was, God said, “I Am” (Exodus 3:14).
God’s name represents everything he is. All about him that exists: I Am.
When I pray in the name of Jesus, I’m not invoking a mystical, magical, mesmerizing word.
“Jesus” is not the Christian “Abracadabra” for making miracles happen.
When I pray in the name of Jesus, I’m asking in the spirit of everything Jesus stood for when he walked on earth.
My buddy and I agree that the name of Jesus is endearing. But it is endearing because of the one who endeared himself to us – and to everyone who knows and believes his story.
For more about Jesus
- “Jesus on a Mission,” A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible, pages 149-181
- Understanding Jesus: A Guide to His Life and Times
- Jesus’ family: “He’s crazy.”
- Roman history: Jesus reported alive
- Here’s proof Jesus lived on earth
- Video: Jesus, Roman MD
- Video: What Romans said about crucifixion
New blog subscribers who win books this week
- Jessica Parker
- Shawn T.
I give away free books each week. It’s normally to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog and quarterly newsletter. But this time I picked two of the most recent subscribers. I’ll probably pick from the newbies for the next several weeks.
The winners will get the option of choosing my new release: A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible – among about half a dozen other titles.