The Name of Jesus

What's in a Name?

What's in a name that the demons flee

What's in a name that the captives go free

What's in a name that every knee should bow

In the name of Jesus, name above all names

There is power and glory, forever and ever

-Bob Hartman


I love words. I'm sure all of you have noticed that--especially since my discussion of orthodoxy began with one of those Greek dissections I like so very much (wait until I learn Ancient Greek next year!). Partly in keeping with my trend and partly as an introduction to the character of Jesus, of this Jewish guy 2000 years ago whom Christians supposedly follow and worship, I shall begin with Jesus.

Jesus is the Latinised Greek for Yeshua (Joshua). Yeshua means "the LORD saves." "The LORD" is actually the way Bible translators translate YHWH, or Yahweh. Yahweh is God's name. It is reminiscent of the Hebrew for I AM.* I AM is the title or name that God--Yahweh--told Moses to give the Israelites (Ex 3:14). Yahweh saves. Wow. That statement in itself is powerful. We see in it the hopes of the whole world. In this violent, fallen world, all some people ever want is a moment of peace, quiet--deliverance. People want to be saved. We crave salvation. The very name of this man tells us where we get salvation--from Yahweh. Yahweh, this omnipotent being, God, who describes himself as simply being--I AM. Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex 3:6), saves us. Yahweh, the God who gave Moses the Law (Ex 19), saves us. Yahweh, the God who parted the Red Sea (Ex 14:21-31), saves us. Yahweh, the God who created the whole shebang (Genesis 1), saves us. Yahweh, the God who has us engraved on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16), saves us. Yahweh, the God who saved David from Saul's violence (2 Sam 19), saves us. Yahweh saves us.

So why was this kid--who would one day be a man--named Jesus? We read in Matthew 1:20-21, an angel comes to Joseph, Jesus' earthly father, and says to him, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (NIV) This guy was called Jesus because he would save his people. Yahweh saves. So does Jesus. To save us from our sins is to forgive them, for them to be atoned for, for us to no longer be under their condemnation--for sin condemns to death (Ro 6:23). Only Yahweh does that. Salvation only comes through Yahweh, does it not? Psalm 62:2 reads, "He [God] alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." (NIV) Psalm 37:39 says, "The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble." (NIV) More evidence is found in Isaiah 46:13, Jeremiah 3:23, Jonah 2:9, Luke 1:77 (indirectly) as well as throughout the Bible. So where does Jesus get off saving people? Indeed, we read about this in Mark 2:

Now some of the teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk?' But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. (Mark 2:6-10 NIV)

Yahweh saves. Jesus saves.** "Yahweh saves" saves us. He must be Yahweh himself, then. He says so in John 8. Read it. Indeed, in John 10:30, he says, "I and the Father are one." Jesus, then, is Yahweh.

As Yahweh, Jesus is powerful. Indeed, he is so powerful that even his very name has power. Joel writes, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Joel 2:32 NIV) What is the name of the Lord? Yahweh. But, then, isn't Yahweh Jesus? Therefore, the name of the Lord is Jesus, and through calling upon his name--Jesus--people are saved. We kind of already addressed that, though. The really cool thing about Jesus name is this:

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 in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)

Wow! That's awesome in its true sense! Jesus very name will cause everyone in the universe to bow before him and confess that he is the Christ, the Lord! And look at all the other stuff his name does. If two or three are gathered in his name he is there! (Mat 18:20) Jesus' name drives out demons! (Mark 10:38, Acts 16:18) At the name of Jesus, the sick are healed! (Acts 3:6-7) In fact, if we ask for anything in Jesus' name, it will be done! (John 15:16, 16:23) When we are baptised, we aren't baptised into a specific church or whatever. We are baptised in the name of Jesus! (Mat 28:19, Acts 2:38, 10:48) Baptism is our entry into the body of believers--and we do it through Jesus name! And that's a powerful name! Our mark as Christians comes through quite possibly the most powerful name in existence. And if Jesus name is this powerful, imagine how powerful he himself must be. There is an awing thought.

What's in a name? A lot. In the name of Jesus, we see where salvation comes: salvation comes through Yahweh. We discover that salvation comes through Jesus; Jesus must be Yahweh. Not only this, but salvation comes to those who call on that name, Jesus. Indeed, the very name Jesus has great power. I'm not sure that a Saviour by any other name would smell as sweet . . .


*The information concerning the Greek, meaning of Jesus, and YHWH came from the introduction to and footnotes of the Holy Bible, New International Version.

**We'll get to this and other issues later.

Copyright 2004, Matthew Hoskin