What Does “In Jesus’ Name” Mean?
Last week we talked about Jesus’ promises for those who ask in his name. We saw that asking in Jesus’ name must be more than just saying “in Jesus’ name” or pronouncing certain syllables. Today we are continuing by talking about what it really means to “ask in Jesus’ name.”
What Did A Name Mean To Hebrews?
A little study will reveal that a name was much more important to Hebrew thought than it was today. A name was character and identity. It wasn’t just syllables. We still understand this today, but we don’t attach nearly as much importance to it as they did. Many people today don’t even know what their names mean.
The names of God in scripture reveal God’s character. The name “Jesus” means “God saves” and “Christ” means “anointed one.”
When Jesus’ gave his disciples such amazing promises about praying in his name, I don’t believe he was talking about pronouncing syllables. If that were so, we would probably have to say his name in Hebrew for it to work! But that’s not how Christianity works. Witchcraft works by putting faith in special incantations that you have to say just right and perform perfectly. It emphasizes that. Christianity works by faith in a person, a God-person, Jesus.
Jesus was talking about asking the Father from a place of identification with him. Christianity brings us into identification and union with Jesus.
We identify with Jesus’ death and resurrection first by baptism, and then by considering ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness. (Romans 6:11) We are in Christ and He is in us. His nature is our nature. He is the head, we are his body. We are united to Him! We should know this. We should act like it’s true.
Christians don’t necessarily always identify with Christ. When we continue to self-identify as sinners, we are not identifying with Jesus. If we act like we’re alive to sin and dead to righteousness, we are not identifying with Jesus. Sadly, sin-consciousness has infected much of Cristian culture. I often hear called “worship songs” in church that are poison. By even singing the lyrics, we self-identify as alive to sin and dead to righteousness, the opposite of what scripture teaches us to do.
Identifying with Christ means my hands are Jesus’ hands. My nature is his nature. Even when I move on the earth, it is Jesus moving, because my body is his temple and the manifestation of His Spirit on this earth comes through my body. If we really believe that and act like it’s true, we are identifying with Christ. We are speaking and acting “in his name.”
Romans 13:14 (NIV) Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
This scripture tells us that identifying with Christ is something we must continue to do intentionally as Christians. If we say things like “I don’t have any more patience,” “I just can’t love that person,” or “I can’t help it…” we are not identifying with Christ, because those things are not his nature. If we act like we are separate from Jesus instead of united with Jesus and sharing his nature, we are not identifying with him. If we are walking in shame, guilt, and condemnation, we are not identifying with Christ. Receiving God’s free gift of righteousness enables us to identify with Christ.
Do You Need To Yell At The Devil To Cast Him Out?
Somebody saw a preacher yelling at demons. The demons were screaming and coming out of people. Others were being healed in the meeting. Later, they tried to imitate the preacher but didn’t get the same results.
Some people yell when they are telling a disease to go or pain to get out of someone’s body. Some people don’t say a word. I’ve done both. You can yell if you want. But what matters isn’t if you yell or don’t yell. What matters is that you’re identifying with Jesus.
If you are yelling at the demon the same way you yell at your spouse or co-worker, you probably aren’t identifying with Christ. If you are yelling only because that thing is afflicting somebody in your family and it’s causing you suffering, you probably aren’t identifying with Christ in that situation.
But if you yell because you love that person with Jesus’ love and that thing that’s hurting them doesn’t belong, you are identifying with Jesus. There is an anger that comes from God, and it comes from love. Mere human anger is self-centered, and it doesn’t produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:20 (NIV) …because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
I remember hearing somewhere the story of a demonic principality that confronted Bob Jones. Bob was about to rebuke it, but the Lord stopped him. He had almost made the mistake of identifying with the very nature of the thing he was about to rebuke in the way that he rebuked it. If he had done so, it would have killed him.
Colossians chapter 3 is also about identifying with Christ. Look at the first few verses:
Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV) Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When you identify with Jesus in his death and resurrection, your life is hidden with him. It’s a place of safety. It’s a place of supernatural protection. You can tread on all the power of the enemy, and nothing will by any means hurt you. So clothe yourself with Christ now! I believe saying “In Jesus’ name” is a great way to pray, but we want to understand and really mean what we are saying.
If you liked this post, you may want to check out the Heaven Now book trilogy. It contains many insights into understanding simple gospel truths and exercising heaven’s dominion on earth. It’s also filled with testimonies of what happened when I put these truths into practice. I’m sure these books will encourage you and help you learn to walk as a heavenly person. Not only that, but your purchase supports our missionary work in Brazil and in every other place we go!