March 21, 2013

The Name of Jesus

A song line says, “Jesus, Jesus, there is just something about that name…” and there is. Many Christians admit that it is easier to say “God” than it is to say “Jesus Christ.” Perhaps this has something to do with the reactions. “God” is generic in that everyone has ideas about who God is, but Jesus Christ is specific, the name of a person but not just any person. He claimed to be God.

Jesus Christ is the name most used as blasphemy. I’ve never heard anyone curse leaders of other religions, although I suppose it happens. However, Jesus is a polarizing figure; people either love Him or are drawn to Him, or they sneer and curse His name, even without knowing who they are cursing.

Christians should say His name more than we do, but in the right way for His name is powerful. A few years ago, a person with demonic problems (identity deliberately vague) gave me permission to share with him what I thought was causing his suicidal thoughts. After I explained the way the forces of evil work, I said, “You need Jesus.” Instantly I sensed a release from oppression as he began to shake and sob uncontrollably. After calming down, he expressed that he was set free — just by the name of Jesus.

Some might raise eyebrows at that, but not those of us who have witnessed the Lord at work through the name of His Son. God described the power of His name early in the Bible. On one occasion, it had to do with an angel. Some would call this angel a theophany, which refers to a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.

Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. (Exodus 23:20–22)

Because the name of the Lord was in this angel from God, he was not only an agent of protection and leadership, but of forgiveness and insurance against the power of their enemies. This sounds like a member of the trinity, for who else can forgive sin and do these things? His name is powerful.

Today’s devotional verse also speaks of His Name. Jesus is praying for His disciples and says to His Father…

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. (John 17:11)

Jesus asks that we be kept in the Name of God, but He also says that this very same Name has been given to Him. He shares the title and designation of God, because He is God the Son.

I’ve been studying the nature of God this week and looking at answers to the question, “How can Jesus be fully man and fully God?” My head aches as I try to understand some very wonderful analysis done by those with incredible insights. They use all that is said in the entire Bible and come to the same conclusion as was revealed to me in an instant when Christ came into my life: Jesus is God in human flesh. I could not articulate it at the time, and still struggle to explain it, but there are no alternatives. All of Scripture points to one God with three natures. This is why the name of Jesus is so powerful. He is no ordinary person and His name is powerful. Eventually, everyone will know it.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11)

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