The Name of Jesus
What’s in a name? What does your name mean? Did your parents struggle for a long time to come up with a unique or different name, or are you just a Jane or a John, a Mary or a Michael? … and does it really matter what your name is, or if anyone knows your name? Not many of us are named by an Angel! … and not many of us have a name appointed by Almighty God.
There are a few examples in scripture of God appointed names, but the most significant name and the most powerful name ever given, was that given to our Blessed Lord, the name of JESUS. I was quite taken-a-back some years ago when I was preaching in the Philippines, to discover that many of the young Boys and Men were also called Jesus, and that it is a common name in that part of the world! I believe also that there are men so called in central and southern America, Brazil & Mexico and in parts of the African continent. So in the moments left to me today I want to examine this name JESUS, (Jehoshua sometimes pronounced Yeshua in the Hebrew tongue) – and discover just why it holds such significance both for time and eternity.
Let us consider firstly
THE PROPHECY OF THE NAME
You remember in the Gospels how the Angel visited Joseph in a dream, and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife even though she was pregnant with a child, – and the angel added ….
“And you shall call his name JESUS for he shall save his people from their sins” Matthew 1:21 This was to fulfil the OT prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 “thou shall call his name Immanuel
which means God with us”. Isaiah also confirms his many other titles; “His name shall we called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace…” Isaiah 9:6
Indeed Jesus is all of these and more, but I have taken as my text today the words of the apostle Paul to the Philippian Church in Phil 2, v 9-11 which we read a moment ago,
Let me recap…
“ Therefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
So then what is it about this name, this name above all other names, this name high over all, why did God give him a name, a special name? While we have living proof of his Supernatural abilities – it is strange that we do not read that God gave him a power greater than all, or an authority grater than all, or a position greater than all, but a name, greater than all! Of course he has power, authority and position, and that power authority and position is also the inheritance of every believer both now and in eternity, and it takes me all my time to get my head around that concept. Believe me it requires much more than mere logic, it requires much faith. Paul writes to Timothy, in 2 Tim 1:7, God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of Power, Love and a Sound (or steady) Mind… and to the Philippian Church he adds “that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection” Phil 3:10. Jesus says that all Authority in Heaven and Earth is given to him, and commissions us to
“go therefore and preach in His name” (or as his ambassadors) Luke 9;1. An ambassador carries with them at all times the full authorization and power of the nation he or she represents, and Paul reminds us that we are “Ambassadors for Christ” 2 Cor 5:20. We carry with us His Divine Authority when we use his name! So when God says, the power, authority and position of Jesus is ours also, such authority demands faith. If we won’t believe it, we don’t receive it! However, while we may have great power, great position, and great authority, in Christ, we do not have a great name, that alone belongs to JESUS – but the Key, the Secret is in appropriating (making use of) the name.
So then we have seen a little of the prophecy of this name, now…
Secondly let us consider
THE PURPOSE OF THE NAME
Our text begins with the word, “therefore” or in the authorized version “wherefore” so we need first of all to ask
what is the “therefore” there for? In the proceeding verses, we read that this Jesus “humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” In other words, it is because of what he did in readiness to take upon himself the sin of the whole world, to suffer and die in our place, and to be the butt of rejection and hatred, the victim, the substitutionary sacrificial lamb … because of this, God has highly exalted him and given him this name above every other name – Yeshua!
So then having been given this name, the name of JESUS, what was the purpose, what reason did God have for so naming him?
When Jesus gave the Disciples and the Church the great commission in Matthew 28, 18-20 he authorised them to preach the gospel, teach and discipline the believers, heal the sick, and minister to the needy ALL in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But Isaiah reminds us that Jesus is the embodiment of the Godhead, …“Immanuel, God with us” Isaiah 7:14; and the Apostle Paul says “in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily “Colossians 2:9 So then we are called to “go forth in His name, in his power, in his place if you like, working together with him and using His name as our instrument of strength.
The hymn writer puts it so well in the words, …
Take the name of Jesus with you, child of sorrow and of woe, it will joy and comfort give you, take it then where’er you go. Precious name, Oh how sweet, the hope of earth and the joy of Heaven!
What is it then about the name JESUS that makes the difference to the believer and that gives him this power, this hope this joy and this comfort. In Johns gospel, we read an account of the miraculous healing of a blind man (John 9, 1-12) where Jesus spat on the ground, made clay of the spittle and anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. After he had washed his eyes, he discovered for the first time in his life, that he could see! A while after this miracle, he was asked by neighbours how his eyes were opened? He was able to reply “A man that is called JESUS” had done this great work for him.
We are not told how he learned who it was that healed him, for remember that he was still blind when Jesus left him, it was not until he went and washed that his sight was miraculously given to him. It seemed important to him to have a name, a recognition of the individual who had done so much for him. So it must be I believe with the Christian. Jesus has done so much for us, he has suffered and bled and died in our place and taken in his own body the punishment for sin that rightly, and legally belonged to us! This is why his name means so much to me. In those times when I don’t know the words to pray, I just say the name of Jesus… for there is no other name that calms my troubled heart, and brings strength to my weakening spirit. Another hymn puts it, “Jesus is the sweetest name I know, and he’s just the same as his lovely name, and that’s the reason why I love him so, for Jesus is the sweetest name I know!”
However, our text points out that the name is given as an exaltation. It lifts Jesus onto another level, not only is he exalted, but highly exalted the Bible says! Above all, in every dimension of heaven, earth and hell. In other words, the angels, the world, and the demons and devils of hell, are all subject to that name – “before him, every knee shall bow” the text reminds us.
So having considered the prophecy and the purpose of the name,
Let us look at what I am calling….
THE POWER OF THE NAME
Power over every other name. When we pray, we come to the Father, through the High Priestly Intercession of the Son,
empowered or prompted by the Holy Spirit. and we ask our petitions in the name of Jesus. In doing so we are acknowledging that Jesus who intercedes for us right now, is the authority that moves all Heaven and Hell for our benefit. (By Heaven and Hell – I imply here the realm of the Spiritual – for the Natural flows from the Spiritual – things happen first in the Spiritual before they can happen in the natural)
Let me explain this further. In the book of Daniel, the prophet prayed for the judgement of God to be stayed or delayed on a rebellious people, and for wisdom and understanding, (Dan 10) Daniel had been fasting from food and was feeling weak after three weeks of prayer and mourning. God sent an angel to minister to and strengthen Daniel, but this angel was hindered, by an evil prince of darkness in the heavenly or spiritual realm.
The angel fought for three weeks and eventually the arch-angel Michael, the chief prince or prime minister of Heaven, had to come to his assistance, and hold back this evil prince, called the “Prince of Persia” Ch 10v13. And even as the angel ministered to Daniel, the arch-angel Michael was still fighting this evil spiritual prince, and Daniels angel had to return to resume that battle? v20. You see my dear friends, there is another world around us, we cannot see it, but it is just as real as this one, a spiritual world, in which the focus and forces of God and the Devil are constantly battling for your soul. There are demonic sinister and evil assignments given by Satan himself, to thwart the purposes of God, both for your life ,and the purposes of God for our world. There are those around us, unbelievers whose eyes (the Bible says) have been spiritually blinded by the Devil. (John 12.40, & 2 Cor 4;4)
Because he does not want them to see the plan of Salvation or to understand the way, the route to peace with God. That is where the Powerful name of Jesus comes into his own. Those devilish demonic spirits must submit, must yield to Jesus. They will not submit to me, or to you, but they must surrender to that name, they must surrender to Jesus. Jesus is stronger than Satan and Sin and Satan to Jesus must bow. When you and I grasp, believe in the strength of that name, instead of us running from the Devil, you will discover the Devil will be running from us.
One of my favourite verses in all of the Bible is that found in 2 Corinthians 4,v7 where Paul says, “for we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God, and not to us” In other words, God has put Power (his power -miracle working power it says in the Greek) in our weak vessels, (that is inside the believer who belongs to Jesus) and in all of my weakness (humanly speaking) God can make me strong! Without Jesus, I am no match for the Devil or the powers of hell…. but with Jesus, in Jesus, confident in Jesus, then I am much stronger than the Devil, much stronger than every evil that comes to attack me.
Paul refers to this battle ground as a “slight momentary affliction” 2 Cor 4:17 and he adds that this is preparing us for “Glory”. Our Spiritual sight allows us to see that having this ministry by the grace of God we do not lose heart, and we do not lose courage or confidence in Jesus.
Our text continues to show that the name of JESUS will not only cause every knee to bow, including every devil and demon of hell, but it also adds, that “every tongue shall confess that Jesus is LORD, to the glory of God the father”v11.
What does it mean that every tongue will confess? Well, it means exactly what it says. Because God has highly exalted or lifted up Jesus, God has destined every Man, Woman, Child, Angel, and Demon, to one day “bow the knee to Him, and confess that He is Lord, that He has the final word. A while ago I said that God will have the final say on every matter, as none of us are bigger than God and none of us can beat God! There is coming a day, at the end of this age of grace, and before the Kingdom age, when all will confess Jesus as Lord. In doing so they will accept his final judgement on their lives.
Even the Devil himself will have to say those words before he is assigned to “the lake of Fire” a lost and fiery eternity. If man will not bow the knee in time, God will ensure he will bow his knee and stiff neck in eternity. The believer too must “appear before the judgement seat of Christ” 2 Corinthians 5,v10, and acknowledge him as Lord. The Methodist Hymn writer Charles Wesley could say, “Jesus the name High over all, in hell or earth or sky, angels and men before him fall, and devils fear and fly!”
So then we have seen something of the Prophecy of the name, the Purpose of the name and the Power of the name of Jesus, but in conclusion today, I was to consider briefly,
THE PERSON WITH THE NAME
For the Christian, the true believer, one who has trusted in the finished work, the shed blood, the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus, he, THE PERSON, becomes number one (Lord) in their life. He becomes a lover of the soul in every sense of those words. Without reservation, and without fear of contradiction I can truly say that I fell in love with him, when I was just seven years old. I love him better and more today than ever, and everything I have, and everything I am, and everything I hope to be, I owe everything to Jesus Christ. Since I was 17, and now in over 40 years of Preaching, his heart has planned and his hand has guided me step by step and day by day along the road of this life. Even when I was faithless – he remained Faithful. He is my best friend, my constant companion, my hearts desire, and my loving Saviour. It is my wish that I may in some small way be a blessing to others, and point them to Him, that I may reflect his nature in the way I talk and walk. Both of my Parents, and one of my Siblings are now gone on to their eternal glory and I have no doubt that I shall see them all again in that Paradise world we call Home, but I long to see Jesus first of all, and to be able to place my helpless hands in his mighty hands, and to serve him in some new role for all eternity.
We need to be cautious of religion that focuses alone on our fellow man, and what good we can do for him. Rather we need to include in our focus the Person of Jesus, (Yeshua) and what He can do for us.
The story is told of a great artist who painted a wonderful picture of the Lords Supper. To his surprise he discovered that everyone who looked on the painting was praising the beautiful golden chalice which stood in the centre of the Holy Table. Their attention was fastened and fixed on its ornate beauty. One day this artist took up his paint brush and completely erased the chalice from the canvas. He said “I meant for Jesus to be the centre of attraction and not the chalice”.
A moment ago I spoke of the great commission where our blessed Lord told us to go forth in His name, and he expects that when we go, the world will see and recognise Jesus in us. One hymn writer prayed
“To be like Jesus, all I ask to be like Him, so pure and holy so meek and lowly, all I ask is to be like Him” Is this your prayer, is this mine? Who do the world see, when they see you, who do the world get when they get you? If you and I are ever going to be like Jesus, we must learn the secret of spending time quality time with him. Some say, that you get to be like the person you live with. And I can guarantee you that if you live with Jesus, you will be like Jesus.
Now this final Word
Most of you will be familiar with the name of John Newton, the author of that famous hymn Amazing Grace. Towards the end of his life, when his memory was almost completely gone, he remarked, “ I can never forget two things, first that I was a great sinner, and second that Jesus is a great Saviour. Of course” he said “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, and I am not what I hope to be, but by the grace of God, I am not what I was.” He felt in his very soul that he owed everything to Jesus, and that Jesus had done everything for him. The name of Jesus had touched the chords of his heart – and at his end, he penned these words which I believe is one of John Newton’s finest Hymns,
How sweet the name of Jesus Sounds in a believers ear, it soothes his sorrows heals his wounds and drives away his fears
It makes the wounded Spirit whole and calms the troubled breast, it is manna to the hungry soul and to the weary rest
Dear name the rock on which I build my shield and hiding place
My never failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace
Jesus my shepherd husband friend my prophet priest and king, my lord my life my way my end accept the praise I bring
Weak is the effort of my heart and cold my warmest thought but when I see thee as thou art, I’ll praise thee as I ought
Till then I would thy love proclaim with every fleeting breath and may the music of Thy Name, refresh my soul in death!