Is the Name of Jesus the same thing as the Person Jesus?
What does it mean to pray in the Name of Jesus?
This is how I think of it, and it has changed my prayers.
“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” … “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong…”
Acts 3:6, 16
Short hours before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus taught His disciples that His followers were to do even greater things on earth than He had done. “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father (John 14:12).
To accomplish this mandate, Jesus gave them the right to use His Name when they prayed. He said it two ways. First He said, “And whatsoever ye ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). And later in the same conversation, He added, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23).
The Name of Jesus Mixed with Faith
The disciples took this to heart and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, became mature in praying in faith in the Name of Jesus. The Scriptures tell a story of the Apostles Peter and John using the Name of Jesus when they ministered to a man born lame. Peter prayed over him, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
This was no long involved prayer. Just the Name of Jesus––mixed with his and John’s faith in that Name––and a simple prayer command for what their faith saw God doing for the man. And God responded and healed him. Then, as the formerly lame man walked and leapt and praised God, Peter explained to a rapt crowd about the Name of Jesus, saying, “His name through faith in his name hath made this man strong” (Acts 3:16).
What Is in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth?
Some years ago as I read this Acts 3 story, that verse leapt into my heart. “His name through faith in his name hath made this man strong.” I suddenly saw the Name of Jesus Christ in an entirely new way. I saw Jesus’ Name as a glorious spiritual entity distinct from Jesus, the Person.
As I perceived it that day and ever since, there is the Person of Jesus, who lived and died and rose from the dead and is alive today. And then there is the Name of Jesus that we call on in prayer––not the Person, but His Name.
How might we envision Jesus’ Name? I find it helpful to see Jesus’ Name as a magnificent and priceless vessel brimming with treasure. The vessel itself is fashioned from Jesus’ identity: the Son of God, the Word, the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the Good Shepherd, our Peace, our Righteousness, our Healer…
And the treasure that fills this vessel is the life work of Jesus Christ of Nazareth: every healing He ministered, every deliverance by which He freed people, every truth He proclaimed… It holds all the virtues He lived out on the earth: His agape-style love, His extravagant joy, His shalom peace, His compassion, His gentleness and humility… It contains His every step of heartfelt obedience to His Father, every temptation He resisted, His suffering and death on the cross…
The Name of the Son of God––forged from His identity and filled with His life work––asserts the authority that the resurrected and glorified Jesus Christ carries as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the Victor who holds the keys to hell and death; the One to whom all power in heaven and on earth has been given…
Immediately, my prayers became more simple and effective. And this has continued so to this day. For seeing the Name of Jesus like this has helped me in a practical way to have a substantial faith in His Name and in the power of that Name. And it has made praying God’s will into the earth, as the Spirit leads me, a great pleasure.
Beautiful and Mighty
In every language, the Name of the Son of God is both a wondrously beautiful Name and a mighty Name. And when we pray in His Name––with faith in that Name––the angels of God worship, the enemy of God is disempowered, and Father God responds. Praises to the magnificent Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Father God, thank You for the Name of Your Son that helps us bring Your Kingdom to earth! We are grateful! Teach our hearts what is in that Name! Lead us into a deeper faith in His Name, so that, as promised, You can work great works through us in Jesus Christ! The Name of Jesus!