And they called them in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. Acts 4:18 (NET)
The Name of Jesus is beautiful. It is a mighty name. But it is also a controversial name. Tyrants and dictators have tried to stamp out the Name of Jesus without success. In the Name of Jesus, demons tremble. We see people healed in the Name of Jesus. And perhaps the greatest miracle of all, salvation, is offered through the Name of Jesus. The song says it well: “There’s Something About That Name.”
How can the Name that is so revered also be so reviled? It may grieve us to hear our Savior’s Name abused and misused, but should it surprise us? Instead of being offended when our Lord’s Name is taken in vain or used as a curse, perhaps we should view it as a confirmation of just how powerful the Name of Jesus is as a threat to the powers and principalities of this world.
As in the days of the apostles, this world’s influential leaders perceive Jesus as a threat. Israel’s elite, the rulers, elders, and legal experts face the dilemma. They could not deny that a miracle had occurred, but they were more interested in preserving their prestige and status than in acknowledging the truth. We must understand the power in the Name of Jesus, but when we do, we must prepare ourselves because all hell will break loose.
What Is in a Name?
These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my Name, and they will speak in new languages. Mark 16:17 (NLT)
Recently, I referred someone to my auto mechanic. I said, “Please give them my name when you contact them.” A name is something more than what we call one another. It represents who we are and our reputation. A good name is priceless: A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1 (NIV).
Using my name might carry a little weight with some people, but for the majority, the response is likely to be, “who is that?” An ambassador speaking in her name might expect to receive little attention, but when she speaks as a representative of the United States of America, ignoring what she has to say might be perilous.
What would we think of an ambassador who was given authority but refused to speak? Most likely, there would be calls to recall. All is not well when there is a mission and authority but no action.
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT)
Jesus has the name “that is above every other name.” He has given us authority to use his Name. His Name has power, and it changes lives. His Name liberates those who are held captive. We must not fail in our responsibilities as representatives of Christ to make use of his Name.
Use And Misuse
They tried to use the power of the Name of the Lord Jesus against some people with evil spirits. They said, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you!” …The evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus and I’m familiar with Paul, but who are you?” Acts 19:13, 15 (CEB).
The Name of Jesus has been used and misused. His Name is misused with great regularity, but of more significant concern is the failure of God’s people to use the Name of Jesus. Some have seen the Name of Jesus as an opportunity for personal enrichment or notoriety.
What is necessary to have the authority to use the Name of Jesus? On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Matthew 7:22 (CSB). Obedience, including doing “the will of the Father,” is required to be known by God.
Speak the Name
From the start, the world has not wanted Christ-followers to speak in the Name of Jesus. There is a concerted effort to keep the Name of Jesus out of the public square. That is unless his Name is spoken in a profane or blasphemous manner. Atheists unwittingly confirm the power of the Name of Jesus through their efforts to eradicate the mention of his Name.
Even in the face of opposition, the apostles declared: We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20 (NLT). Under the threat of imprisonment and even death, they did not stop declaring the Name of Jesus. Do not expect the world to act rationally regarding the Name of Jesus. The Name of Jesus threatens the institutions of power in this world.
The choice for us is simple, obey God or man. It is not always easy or convenient to speak the Name of Jesus to those around us. Those early followers of Christ recognized the perils they faced, but instead of shrinking back to ask God to make life easy, they prayed:
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the Name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29–31 (NLT)
Never Stop Speaking
May we have the boldness never to stop speaking the Name of Jesus over our families, our churches, our communities, and the nations. The Name of Jesus will break strongholds, and it sets prisoners free. There is no other Name that compares with the Name of Jesus Mighty things will happen as we speak the Name of Jesus. “Jesus is the sweetest Name I know, and he’s just the same as his lovely Name. That’s the reason why I love him so, for Jesus is the sweetest Name I know.”