What’s in a Name?

After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter and John were entering the temple and Peter heals a crippled beggar.  The onlookers are astonished and everyone is wondering how this happened.  Peter boldly proclaims, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” (Acts 3:16)

The elders threatened Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, but Peter said, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)

Later when Peter and John are with other followers, they pray, “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30)

Do we treat the name of Jesus with the same awe and wonder as Peter and the early followers of Jesus?  Have we allowed the name of Jesus to become so familiar and common as to strip it of its power and majesty? 

Peter was simply doing what Jesus had instructed the apostles when he said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” (John 14:12-13)

Many years ago some prayer group friends of ours prayed for healing of my glaucoma at a large Christian gathering at the old Shea Stadium in New York.  They put their hands on my head and prayed in the name of Jesus that my glaucoma be healed.

It just so happened that on the following Monday, I had an annual field of vision test with my ophthalmologist.  I will always remember his words at the initial diagnosis that while we might be able to preserve the field of vision I still had, I would never be able to recover the approximate 30% of vision that had been lost.

While he conducted the test, I heard him continue to say, “hum.”   After about the fourth hum, I asked him what he was humming about, and he said that I had a full field of vision.  When I reminded him of his statement to me a couple of years earlier that the field of vision that I had lost could not be restored, he had no explanation.  When, I told him some friends had prayed with me on the prior Saturday for healing, he said, “Well, I will take all the help I can get.”

I realize that not all prayers by Christians of faith made in the name of Jesus appear to be answered.  Yet, might we not take Jesus at his word, have greater awe and reverence for his name, and act with the same faith as Peter with the crippled beggar.

“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Phil. 2:9-11)

Jesus' Name, untitled

4 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

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