DR. PHIL BRASSFIELD
Solomon was right when he said, “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). The Name of the Lord is, in many ways, the cornerstone of our faith. It is the cornerstone in the sense that all that God is and represents, all of His divine essence and identity, His virtue and qualities, not to mention His power, are invested in His name. His name is His authority. His name is His signature, and He backs it up with the weight and power of who He is.
God told Moses at the burning bush when He identified himself as, “I Am that I Am” or YHWH, “this is my name forever and my memorial to all generations” (Ex 3:15). In other words, this is who I am and will always be. This constant will be a fortress to my people from generation to generation. Oh and by the way, this forever name of God is embedded in the Jewish name for Jesus, Yeshua.
Later, God also told Israel through Moses in Deuteronomy 12 that He would bring them to a land of promise, and once they were settled, He would choose a city in that land where He would inscribe His name. There they should worship Him. When Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem, thirteen times in his dedication address and prayer he included that the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple was the place where God had chosen to sign His name. At the end of his prayer of dedication, God was moved and responded with what has become one of the most famous passages of Scripture: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land” (2nd Chron 7:14). As believers we are, perhaps more than anything else, people of the Name! It’s the name of the Lord that is our authority, and our power and our protection. It’s His name that sanctifies our rituals and religion, and makes them powerful and life changing. No, friend, there are not many different ways to get to God, and all religions do not lead to the same destination, even though we are pressured by our relativistic culture to accept this perspective. We are people of the Name, people called by His name; the name of Jesus!
The Apostle Paul writing to the Philippians in the famed second chapter of the letter of the same name says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Paul was teaching that the Name of Jesus now supersedes every other name given among men. Think about that! There is no name, identity or designation that has the power that the name of Jesus has. No religious system, no belief system, secular or religious, that can compete.
The Apostles Peter and John demonstrated the power of the name of Jesus as they healed the lame man who lay at the Beautiful gate entrance of the Temple. He was asking for help in the form of material provision, Peter and John told him that they had no money (which would have simply funded a continuation of the man’s condition), instead that they had the designated authority of the Name of Jesus to change the man’s condition! They told him, “in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”, and the man’s life was changed.
In these pluralistic times, let me encourage you today that our hope, help, power and purpose is found exclusively in the authority of the name of Jesus. This is why Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The gospel magna-carta of redemption is signed by the only name that can back up its claims, Jesus Christ!
Sadly, for some, the name of Jesus is simply a by-word used in profane outburst, for some it’s mentioned only in skepticism, but when the name of Jesus is mentioned, no matter who speaks it, things happen. Since the day of His exaltation in Heaven following the resurrection, the entire universe is tuned to the name of Jesus. When that Name is spoken, all of Heaven stands to attention; all of creation waits for orders. Hell, sickness, disease and death tremble. Every malady and malfunction of man must bow its proverbial knee in submission.
In our pursuit of relevance (and we should seek relevance), we must not allow ourselves to become too cleaver, too sophisticated, or too cool for the name of Jesus. Techniques, systems, methods, in and of themselves, are powerless to change a life, but the name of Jesus can break every chain of darkness and transform the heart of man. It always has and it always will!