The Name of Jesus
Holy Trinity Series
This is the first of five episodes of a series in which we will explore the Holy Trinity. People, me included, often want to know a definition and explanation of the Trinity; what it is and how it works. I am not going to take that approach in this series.
I begin by simply accepting by faith that the Holy Trinity is the Godhead, and that somehow beyond my understanding, this is one God, in three Persons, operating in conjunction with One Another, accomplishing the will of God. I am simply going to look at each Person of the Trinity and what the function is of each Person.
We will first look at Jesus Christ and then in the next two episodes will be looks at the Holy Spirit and the Father. The final two episodes will consider the Trinity in the sending of our Savior and in our New Beginnings that result from acknowledging Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Let’s keep in mind who Jesus is. He is the Son of God, in fact, He is God. He is the Word of God that was made manifest in the flesh.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1, 14 ESV
Being the Word of God, through whom all things were created, Jesus Christ has more authority than anyone or anything that we can think of or comprehend.
All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:3 ESV
Before His ascension, Jesus reminds His disciples that He has all authority in heaven and on earth.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Matthew 28:18 ESV
Who gave that authority to Christ Jesus? The Father, God Almighty. The apostle Paul makes it clear that the Son has the greatest authority of anyone. He has the name that is above all names.
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 ESV
We learn quickly in the Christian life that we do things in the name of Jesus. The phrase, “in the name of Jesus,” is not an incantation as in a spell or witchcraft. It is not an afterthought as something that needs to be used as a formula for success. We seem to say it as a self-reminder, or as an indicator to others, of who we are acting on behalf of. We are to be ambassadors of Christ. We see in Scripture that those who believe will pray and do things in the name of Jesus. But what does that mean?
We need to ask ourselves if we are using it, as in a ritualistic practice, or are we believing it and walking in it? Do we practice and walk in the presence of God? Specifically, as if Jesus is walking next to us.
We may use the name as an identifier, such as gathering as followers of Christ. We come together in the name of Jesus. He is the focal point of the reason for gathering.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:20 ESV
We also find that salvation is in the name of Jesus.
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 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.”
Acts 4:11-12 ESV
If that isn’t clear enough, Jesus, in His own words, teaches us that He is the only way and means of obtaining eternal life. He is the only way to enter into that loving relationship with the Father that was lost at the fall of man through sin.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 ESV
Paul reiterates that thought from a different point of view. The invitation is to call upon the name of Jesus, but that is the only name that will result in one’s salvation.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 ESV
In prayer, we often conclude with the phrase, in Jesus’ name we pray. Should we do so? Is there a point to it, or is a habit, or a formality? And just because we say the words, are we actually praying in His name? We can give mental ascent to the truth without truly living out the truth. We need to operate in the name of Jesus in faith, not merely formulaic verbiage.
Jesus mentions a variety of ways that we are to pray and operate in His name. First we will look at praying to the Father for our desires.
“In that day you will ask nothing of Me. Truly, Truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He will give it to you.”
John 16:23 ESV
Also, we may ask Jesus for our desires.
“Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
John 14:13-14 ESV
Jesus states that His disciples will operate in His name, or in His authority as His representative on earth.
“All these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any
deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:17-18 ESV
The actual name, Jesus, or Yeshua, is not filled with magical power. The authority and power of God is represented in the person of Christ Jesus. The name is the identifier of whom we are speaking. To walk “in His name” is to walk in His authority.
To operate and pray in His name, we must, as much as possible, have His mind in the matter. We are to be the yes and amen to His work of the kingdom. He is not our servant whom we call upon for every pleasure we desire. We are meant to be co-laborers with Him for the sake of the kingdom of God. We are to seek out his ways and His thoughts which are far above ours.
We see in the Gospel According to Luke a story of Jesus sending the seventy-two disciples out to the surrounding areas. They traveled in pairs with instructions from the Lord to bring peace and to heal the sick.
“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’”
Luke 10:5 ESV
And referring to the town, Jesus instructed them:
“Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”
Luke 10:9 ESV
Jesus further told them:
“The one who hears you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and the one who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
Luke 10:16 ESV
The disciples were going out to the towns in Jesus’ name. They followed His plan and shared His words. They were doing the work of the kingdom of God as they were instructed to do. I believe they were actually preparing those towns for a visitation from Jesus.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go.
Luke 10:1 ESV
The disciples had the mind of Christ in the matter, went out in accordance with His plan, and were obedient to all the Lord had commanded them to do. Look at verse 16 again. The disciples spoke on behalf of the Lord, as if the Lord were speaking to the people.
We also do this when we walk in obedience to what the Lord has called upon each of us to do. This podcast for example is the result of my walking in obedience to what the Lord has called upon me to accomplish. Discipleship of new believers is weak in much of the church system today. All too often someone will be led in a prayer for salvation but then be left to figure things out on their own. Where are they to turn? We are not called to lead people in a prayer, rather we are to make disciples. Making a disciple takes time and relationship.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”
Luke 10:17 ESV
They were walking in the authority of the Lord. He had deputized them to walk in that authority just as with the great commission He sends us out into the world. Jesus then made sure their focus was correct in their rejoicing.
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits
are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:19-20 ESV
We can fall into pride and other sin if we are focused on the power and the accomplishments thinking they are somehow the result of something we had done rather than the power of God operating through us. Rejoicing in our salvation ought to help us remain humble as we recall the mercy and love of God as He forgave our sinfulness. It is the authority of Jesus, given to us, that enables us to walk in His power. Remember that the authority and power are His. We are honored to co-labor with Him and to walk in that authority and power, to operate in the name of Jesus. We also need to be sure we are walking in obedience to what He is calling us to do. It is the will of God that we are to carry out, not our own. We are to be the glorious church that Jesus returns to.
so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:27 ESV
Or in the King James translation, a glorious church.
- Strong’s Greek #1741, endoxos
- Definition: held in honor, glorious
- Usage: highly esteemed, splendid, glorious
We are justified in the name of the Jesus. We are covered with His righteousness as we surrender our lives to Him. God sees us as being just and righteous because of Jesus and the sacrifice He made that covers us and with forgiveness for our sin.
Until such time as one repents and surrenders one’s life to God, there is no place in the kingdom for the one who remains in sin. The kingdom is for those who humble themselves, confess their sins, and turn away from such idols and turn toward God.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor men who practice
homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
Paul was writing to the believers at Corinth who had repented and turned to God in His mercy and forgiveness. The distinguishing mark is this; the believer turns away from the sinful lifestyle to serve the will of God, and the one who has yet to believe hangs onto the sinful lifestyle. The change comes because of the love of God. I can relate to a number of those sins he listed. I also know that I have been set free from the bondage in which they had a hold on my life. It wasn’t by some great or holy thing I did, but by the grace and mercy of a loving God who desired to set me free. I was justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you or anyone else can be as well.
We have one mediator between the Father and us, Christ Jesus.
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
And we are instructed to be baptized in the name of Jesus. That is a baptism confirming our testimony of faith, not an infant baptism.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38 ESV
Not long afterward, Peter healed a man in the name of Jesus. Again, Peter was allowing God to work through Him. It was the power and authority that Jesus gave to His disciples to do the work of the kingdom of God.
But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and
immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
Acts 3:6-7 ESV
Peter and John were brought before the religious council of the day, and when they were released we see a prayer. A portion of it is:
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are
performed though the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:29-30 ESV
I will end this segment of the podcast with a caution; do not do things in the name of Jesus if you do not truly walk in His authority. Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva did so, and it did not turn out well for them.
But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so
that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
Acts 19:15-16 ESV