Do you know the meaning of your name? Often times in the United States today, a child’s name is chosen because of family tradition or simply because “it sounds nice.” But in Biblical times, names were very significant. They spoke to physical or character traits, a resemblance to created things, the spiritual condition of the parents, or a significant relationship or experience with God.
- Esau – hairy
- Careah – bald
- Zecharaiah – God has remembered
- Tabitha – gazelle
- Leah – exhausted
- Daniel – God is my judge
But no name in Biblical times has quite as much significance as the name of Jesus!
1. The name of Jesus carries authority.
There are many New Testament accounts of Jesus speaking with authority, when he does this, he is usually righting wrong and seeking justice. Just as God the Father desires order, so Jesus brings order to the world by His Words.
In Mark 4:35-5:20, Jesus demonstrates His authority two times. First, He authoritatively commands a storm to cease, and at His words, the skies become clear and the waters calm. The disciples wonder in fear, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (v. 4:31)
After arriving on shore, they are met by a man with a legion of demons. The demons recognize Jesus for His high position in the universe and are terrified of Him. They beg to be cast into some nearby swine, and, as a measure of His authority over them, at once Jesus gave them permission (v. 5:13). Jesus has ultimate rank over these demons and can therefore command them as He pleases.
2. The name of Jesus has power.
While authority is about the position Jesus holds in the universe, power speaks to the ability Jesus has to do whatever He wants. Jesus is supernaturally all-powerful, which is different from any human power of strength, money, or government.
In Matthew 16, Jesus has asked his disciples who they say He is. When Peter answers that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus confirms this and speaks of the power that we have when we believe in Him:
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (v. 18-19)
3. The name of Jesus has the power of salvation.
You’ve probably heard the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) before, but today we read it with a fresh perspective. David, the young shepherd, goes up against the giant warrior Goliath and conquers him, armed with only a slingshot and the favor of God. You may have been challenged in the past to “slay your giants” in bravery, as David did, but it may be more appropriate to see yourself as the anonymous Israelite warrior, shaking on the sidelines in fear, unable to defeat the terrible Goliath. Jesus comes along like David, in all His majesty and power, and slays the giants of sin and death for you.
Salvation is not something we can achieve on our own. It is a gift given as we stand aside and watch – this fact is at the very heart of the Gospel message.
So now you are challenged to consider your own walk with the Lord today. Are you living out the authority, power, and salvation of the name of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Be the church you were called to be! Take your struggles to him and let His name have authority and power over them.
When God gazes at you, what do you imagine is in that gaze? Disappointment? Shame? Embarrassment? If you can imagine the look on a groom’s face at the moment he sees the doors open and his lovely bride walking toward him, this is the gaze Jesus has for you. You are His bride, unblemished and clean. When you believe in Jesus, God sees no wrongdoing in you anymore. He simply wants to be united with you forever.
Are you dropping Jesus’ name flippantly? Do you claim Christianity without really letting the impact of Christ’s sacrifice have any bearing on your life? Jesus has something powerful to say about this in Matthew 7:22-23:
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
These are sobering words. If you realize you need to make some adjustments in your relationship with God, don’t waste any more time. Don’t just be a name-dropper; be honest with God about where you are and what you are thinking and feeling. Seek Him authentically and live out the power and authority of His holy name.