The most powerful name in the world is the name “Jesus.” It’s hated by demons and worshiped by angels. Sung in praise and whispered in prayer. This name is the name above all names. The name that can save us and make the darkness flee. Why would the Savior of the world be named Jesus? Because that’s what His name means, “God Saves.”
The Divinity of His Name
When Jesus’s name is transliterated, printed from the Hebrew alphabet to the English alphabet, His name is Yeshua. This name is a combination of Ya, short for Yahweh, and yasha, a verb that signifies “rescue,” “deliver,” or “save.” So Yeshua literally means “God Saves.” When the angel warned Joseph in a dream not to divorce Mary, he told Joseph what to name the baby. Joseph did not speak English, so he did not hear the name “Jesus” he heard the name Yeshua. Surely when Joseph awoke from that dream he knew the life within Mary’s womb was the long awaited Messiah.
The Humanity of Jesus’ Name
Though the name, Yeshua, contains God’s name, “Ya,” it was also a very popular name for Hebrew boys in Judea, so He was distinguished as Jesus of Nazareth. This may seem a small detail, but this beautiful aspect of His name reveals His human nature. Although His name reveals His divinity, it also demonstrates His humanity. Paul writes of His humanity as he encourages the Philippians to be humble like Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,Philippians 2: 8-10
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Can we fathom the Son of God exchanging His divinity for our humanity, or His ability to be fully both simultaneously? He WAS God, but He did not live that way. As His feet plodded through the sands of Galilee, Jesus experienced everything humans do–hunger, fatigue, loneliness, rejection, grief. He carried a cross and sacrificed His life for ours. No other man or God has done that for humanity. Only a man named “God Saves” could, and that is why His name is so powerful.
Pray in Jesus’ Name
Jesus Himself told His disciples to pray in His name. Praying in His name means recognizing His power and authority over all things when we pray. But His name is not a magic word we tack onto the end of a prayer. To pray using Jesus’ name means so much more. I appreciate how Aaron Berry explains this. He writes, “Praying in Jesus’ name is less about including the phrase at the end of your prayer, and more about positioning your heart properly when you pray.” In his article on Crosswalk he argues we would not be able to petition the Father if it weren’t for Jesus who intercedes for us. In other words, we come to the throne of Grace because of Jesus. Berry concludes, “We come to him in prayer, not because of our own works or merit, but in the name of Jesus.”
Who needed to hear this today? Yes, we have a responsibility to pray, but it’s not our goodness that activates the prayer, it’s His. Remember this the next time you pray. “In Jesus’ name” reminds us of whose we are. We are in Him and therefore able to petition the Father.
Baptize in Jesus’ Name
Jesus told His disciples to baptize followers in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but in the book of Acts, on the day of Pentecost when Peter preached to the crowd, when they asked what they could do, he said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:23).
It may appear Jesus and Peter were on different pages here, but it must be understood that both included the importance of the Son, Jesus, in baptism. Jesus was commissioning His disciples to go to all nations to make followers of Jesus. Those people would not all be Jewish, and they would need to know the Father, YHWH, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The crowd Peter spoke to were Jewish. They knew the Father YHWH, but they had been convicted of the truth of Jesus, the Messiah they’d unjustly judged, their Savior. Their baptism was a declaration of faith in the Jesus they had shunned and denied.
Just like the Jews of that day, it is important for new believers to be baptized with Jesus’s name. Father and Holy Spirit are important too, but there would be no saving baptism if not for Jesus.
Do Everything in His Name
We are to pray in His name and baptize in His name, but Paul also tells the Colossian church to do everything in His name. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17). How do we do that? In the context of this passage, Paul is instructing them how to live holy lives loving one another, worshiping together, and living out the gospel of Jesus. What if we change the preposition “in” to the word “because” or “for”? Would it be easier to understand if we do everything because of Jesus’s name or for Jesus’s name? His name represents His heart, His purpose, His goodness. Do everything because of Jesus. Do everything out of a heart overflowing for Jesus.
The Enemy’s Attempt to Malign Jesus’ Name
Darkness cannot stand the name of Jesus. Can you see Satan cringe as believers do everything out of hearts overflowing with gratitude, love, and worship for Jesus? This is why he has done his best to malign this name. Darkened hearts use His name flippantly. Those who haven’t met Him, who don’t know Him use His name in the same sentence with curse words. Yet, even as believers we need to be mindful of how we use His name. The name of Jesus is sacred. We would do well to remember this in our daily conversation, not allowing habit or familiarity of His name cause us to speak the name of Jesus in less than holy ways.
Everything Must Bow to His Name
Jesus’s name is holy. It is His name we all need to heal our hearts and save our souls, and one day every knee will bow and every mouth confess Jesus as the Savior of the world and Lord over our hearts. I cannot wait for that glorious moment when all knees will bow to the One who humbled Himself for us.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest placePhilippians 2: 9-11 NIV
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Until that day, we can bow. We can confess. We can use our tongues to declare Jesus as the ruler of our desires and dreams. We can do everything for the name of Jesus and because of the heart of Jesus’s name and everything it represents–humility, obedience to the Father, sacrifice, the power of God, and victory over death. I love the name of Jesus.
Scriptures about His Name
His name is worthy of our study and our time. My words can try to explain everything about His name, but truthfully, only God’s word can do that. If you really want to know more about His name, come spend a month reading scriptures with His name. Click on the image below to get the free printable.
I pray this reading plan will draw you closer to the One whose name means “God Saves.” I pray His name will become less familiar and more sacred to us with every scripture. May we never take for granted His name and all it means to us and to the world. His name is not like any other. His name was and is Jesus–the God-Man who saved us.