I’ve had three names. As a child I was called “Dane.” Allegedly, my maternal grandmother saw me in the hospital nursery with red hair and fair skin and said, “He looks like a little Dane.” She was referring to the obvious DNA of my paternal grandfather who was an immigrant from Denmark. The handle stuck until I started high school in a new location and decided the childhood nickname needed to go, and so I became “Jerry” which is drawn from my given name, Jerald, which I never much liked.
For much of my adult life I have been addressed by a majority of people as “Pastor Jerry,” or the shortened version, “PJ.” Pastor is a Latin word for ‘shepherd,’ which is both a title and descriptive of my vocation. Even after 4 decades of pastoral ministry, I treasure that honor of serving as a shepherd for the people of God and I am reminded of His grace each time I hear someone say, “Pastor” to me.
There is a Name that I speak more than any another, Jesus. His Name is often on my lips in the dark of the night, shapes my private worship, and is spoken in times of great joy in praise and in times of sorrow as a one-word prayer. “Oh, Jesus,” is never a curse or an oath on my lips, but it is frequently a simple statement of faith.
So why that Name?
It is a God-given Name for His Son. Matthew tells us that “after he (Joseph) had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “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.” (Matthew 1:20-21, NIV) Luke includes this note – “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.” (Luke 2:21, NIV)
“Jesus” is a New Testament form of the Hebrew word, “Joshua,” which means “God is salvation.” It was a name that was commonly used in that era. But, when made a compound, “Jesus Christ,” that Name is a statement of the unique identity of the Man who was God Incarnate. The Name tells us why He came – “to save His people!”
“Jesus” brings God close to us. I seldom pray using the word “God” though I may address my prayers to the One who is ‘my Father,’ but I close those more formal prayers saying “in Jesus’ name.” Why? Because Jesus is our Intercessor, the One who has made it possible for us to enter God’s presence confidently. He has given God a face and revealed His heart.
“Jesus” is a powerful Name, for He defeated sin, death, and Hell in His death and Resurrection. When I invoke His Name in prayer I speak with a borrowed authority to the demons of darkness and they must yield to Him. When we receive Him by faith, His Name is written on our hearts and there is an eternal transformation. John says it this way – “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31, NIV)
Eternal life comes when we come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Christians are invited to go beyond a creed to know a Person on an intimate level. Oh yes, He is the Lord of Glory and when we see Him in His majesty, we will find ourselves in joyful, heart-deep worship. Come and see Him, experience the joy that comes to those who know Him! Jesus is inviting you by name to come to Him – the Baby in the manger, the Man who walked the roads of Galilee, the One who healed the sick, the Teacher who revealed God’s plans, the Savior on the cross, and the Lord of Eternity who opened Heaven’s gate to us when He emerged alive and victorious from the tomb.
If we will come to Him with faith, if we will let our minds yield to Him with humble obedience, when we surrender to His love – we come to know “Jesus,” who saves His people from their sins.
Jesus is my Friend, my Savior, my Lord. Is He yours? Do you know Him?
When you say His Name is it like saying the name of someone you know, a name wrapped up with images, memories, emotions, and affection?
The word from the Word comes from Peter’s spirited defense of his Lord when he was first arrested and called to account for a man’s healing. “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ”‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12, NIV)
This Christmas, give yourself to Jesus, and you will join Peter in the declaration – Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
There’s Something About That Name
( a simple song of adoration )
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
There’s just something about that name!
Master, Savior, Jesus,
Like a fragrance after the rain!
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Let all heaven and earth proclaim!
Kings and kingdoms may all pass away
But there’s something about that name.
Gloria Gaither | William J. Gaither© 1970 William J. Gaither, Inc. (Admin. by Gaither Copyright Management)
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