What’s in a Name?

Acts 19:13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.


There’s just something about that NAME!! This story is always so stunning to me (and so many more like it). It seems no other name carries such power, and can create such a stir! In the earliest chapters of Acts, the city leaders kept commanding the disciples over and over to STOP speaking in/of the name of Jesus! So much so that when Stephen began to declare Him the Son of God, they covered their ears, yelling, and dragged him out and began to stone him (Acts 7:57-58)! My goodness! The name of Jesus was the decisive factor in producing such violent responses. The Name itself causes things to shift, demons to tremble and atmospheres to change. It is, in fact, the Name above every other name (Philippians 2:9-11).


Have you ever been in a spiritual conversation with someone, and they continue comfortably in the conversation until you bring in the name of Jesus? He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The mention of His name releases power, and presses the issue of His absolute divinity and authority.


In Biblical culture and context, a person’s “name”, wasn’t simply the title by which they were addressed, but included their very nature, their personality and their reputation (we understand this in the terms of “having a good name”).  That’s why we see names have very specific meanings in the Bible (Jesus means, “God saves”). We also see the Lord changing people’s names, indicating a change in their nature and what they would be known for (i.e. Saul became Paul, Simon became Peter).  If we understand this concept, it causes several other things make much more sense.


When Jesus says, “whatever you ask in My Name, I will do” (John 14:13), He’s not simply saying, that we should simply make sure to say “in Jesus’ Name” at the end of our prayers, but that our prayers would reflect His character and nature. When they do, He will answer. Same idea when He says “wherever two or three gather in My name, there I am with them” (Matthew 18:20)– it’s that we have gathered around the nature and character of Jesus, we have centered ourselves around Him, the very essence of who He is — summed up in His Name.


I say this to encourage us. As you have prayed, in His name — according to His nature, His character, His personality — He has heard, and He is with you! And, for the sake of His great Name, He will be greatly glorified!

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