I hope you have been enjoying this ‘names of Jesus’ series as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Even though some of the names have had similar meanings, they have all revealed slightly different facets of this most wonderful character. This central figure of history is certainly worth studying. Many of these names are titles given to Jesus, or names He has called Himself, but this week we are going to look at His actual name – Jesus.
The name “Jesus” was chosen by God Himself and proclaimed to His mother Mary and earthly father Joseph by a heavenly angel:
(To Joseph)”… and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”. (Matthew 1:21)
(To Mary)”…. behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus”. (Luke 1:31)
This is His primary name. In the gospels this name is used over 500 times and 909 times altogether in the New Testament. Of all the names, this is the name most endeared and loved by His followers.
To know what the name of Jesus means to a person, see what their reaction is when you mention it. For some it is just a swear word, but for many His name is precious above all others.
One of the ways we express our love for His name is in song. There have been wonderful hymns and songs written over the years about the name of Jesus. I have listed a few below which immediately come to mind, but if you have any suggestions feel free to put them in the comments.
- How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! (John Newton 1774) (Full lyrics below)
- At the name of Jesus (Caroline M Noel 1870)
- All hail the power of Jesus’ name! (Edward Perronet, 1780)
- Praise the name of Jesus (Roy Hicks Jr, 1976)
- No other name but the name of Jesus (Don Moen, 1993)
- There is power in the name of Jesus (Noel Richards, 1989)
- Jesus, Holy and anointed one “your name is like honey on my lips” (John Barnett, 1988)
- Break every chain – There is power in the name of Jesus (Jesus culture)
The name Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means Saviour. It is the name that gives the essence of His life because He came to this earth with one purpose – to save us from our sins.
There are many similarities between Joshua and Jesus. Joshua led the people from the wilderness into the promised land; Jesus did this spiritually. Joshua succeeded Moses the lawgiver; Jesus succeeded the law. Joshua and Jesus both interceded for the people etc.
Jesus of course far surpassed Joshua’s feint shadow. Joshua was just a taste of a saviour whereas Jesus is the full banquet, as Peter declared in the book of Acts:
“….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 4:12)
As a couple of the above songs suggest, there is also power in the name of Jesus. Since ancient times people could speak or act ‘in the name of’ someone because the name would represent authority and power. Decrees could be issued and oral messages delivered in the name of a king, for example. For christians, the name of Jesus Christ is the most wonderful and most powerful name in existence.
In Psalm 72, although King David was mostly writing about his son Solomon, he also speaks prophetically of Jesus Christ. Verse 17 says, “May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!.”
Jesus Christ has given christians the right and authority to use His name. This is the equivalent of being given power of attorney. Legally, power of attorney is the authority to act on another person’s behalf, at their request. It is Jesus’ authority allowing believers to take action on His behalf.
“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)
” whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23, 24)
The name of Jesus Christ is not a magic word. The power is not in simply repeating the name (Just ask the 7 sons of Sceva in Acts 19!), but in understanding and believing all that the name of Jesus signifies. His name represents all of His finished work on the cross, fulfilling God’s plan of redemption and salvation, victory over sin, death, and over all the powers of darkness. When the name of Jesus Christ is invoked, it carries all of the power and distinction God gave to it. God raised Jesus from the dead, elevated Him to His right hand, and gave Jesus a name above “every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:21)
Philippians declares, “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.” (Philippians 2:9-10)
I’ll leave you this week with the words of that great hymn, listed earlier, by John Newton. Let them stir your soul as you think about the wonderful name:
1 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer’s ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,
and drives away our fear.
2 It makes the wounded spirit whole
and calms the troubled breast;
’tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest.
3 O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend,
my Prophet, Priest, and King,
my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
accept the praise I bring.
4 How weak the effort of my heart,
how cold my warmest thought;
but when I see you as you are,
I’ll praise you as I ought.
5 Till then I would your love proclaim
with every fleeting breath;
and may the music of your name
refresh my soul in death.
(John Newton 1774)