And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, - Colossians 3:17a (ESV)
Some people eat nuts. Some people are nuts. Some people drive people nuts. Harold Peterson is one of those people who fits all three descriptions. He eats nuts, he is nuts and he drives everybody nuts but lately he is being driven nuts along with his good friend Barney by a kid in school who thinks Jesus' name is some kind of magic word.
It was during phy-ed class that Harold first noticed it. On that particular day he was playing catcher in a game of kick ball. Every time the kid would come up to kick the ball he would shout “I kick you in the name of Jesus.” Half the time he would miss the ball and once, Harold told Barney, “He fell flat on his back.”
“In math class last week,” Barney said next, “The teacher called him to the front of the class to work a math problem on the board. The problem was kind of hard but no to hard. Anyway after five minutes he circled his answer and said 'The answer is 35 in Jesus' name.' 35 wasn't even close to being the right answer.”
“He's been really annoying at lunch everyday for the last two weeks.” Harold continued. “Worse than you?” Barney questioned. “Way worse.” Harold responded, “He had just about everyone, including the cooks, ready to throw him in the compost pile. He must have said 'I eat this in the name of Jesus.' a hundred times at every meal.”
As the boys continued to talk about the kid at school, Louie walked up. “Is he the same kid that got caught passing notes in Jesus' name in history and shooting rubber bands in Jesus' name in English class?” Louie asked. Barney and Harold looked at each other and than at Louie and said in unison “In Jesus' name.” and then cracked up laughing.
“That kid must think Jesus' name is some kind of magic word” Barney said through his laughter. “Why would anyone want to use Jesus' name like that?” “Well,” Louie stammered, “ Randy uses Jesus' name after his prayers.” “Yeah,” Barney responded, But he knows how to use it properly.”
“Anyway,” Louie told them, “I just saw him in the back of Sgt. Halfway's police car.” “What?” Harold asked “Did some one get tired of him saying 'In Jesus' name.' after everything he did?” “Sort of.” Louie continued, “He was caught shoplifting. He tried to walk out of the supermarket with a big bag of candy and said he didn't need to pay for it because he was taking it in Jesus' name.”
“I hope the judge throw the book at him for being such a nuisance.” Barney said happily. “And I hope he does it in Jesus' name.” Harold added and than all three burst into laughter.
Proverbs 22:1a A good name is more desirable than great riches; (NIV) - To many people fail to realize the importance of a good name and when I talk about a good name I’m not talking about a name like Frank or George being a better than a name like Buster or Nim Com Poop. I’m talking about a name that has behind it a good reputation.
There are people who have great reputations, people from whom you would love to be associated with, people for whom the mere mention of their name can make things happen, can get things done. Jesus has one of those names. Think of some of the things that were and are done in Jesus' name:
- In Jesus' name Peter made a lame man walk – Acts 3:6
- In Jesus' name demons became subject to the disciples – Luke 10:17
- In Jesus' name we are to be baptized for salvation – Acts 2:38
- In Jesus' name we are to give thanks – Ephesians 5:20
- In Jesus' name we are to do all things – Colossians 3:17
And of course, staying true to the theme of this series, when we pray we are to ask for things in Jesus' name - John 16:23 At that time you won't need to ask me for anything. The truth is, you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will grant your request because you use my name. (NLT)
So, what does it mean to ask for something in another’s name? Is it simply some magic word to be used? I suppose it could mean that the name of the person doing the asking is insufficient to get the request fulfilled, or it could also mean that we are asking so that another receives the credit or glory, or maybe both.
If a man who has money in a bank authorizes us to draw it, we are said to do it in his name. If a son authorizes us to apply to his father for aid because we are his friends, we do it in the name of the son, and the favor will be bestowed on us from the regard which the parent has to his son, and through him to all his friends.
If we are to ask for things or do things in Jesus' name we need to make sure we can. The Bible gives us examples of demons being cast out in Jesus' name but it also give example of those who tried and failed. In Acts 19 we read of the failures of the sons of Sceva.
Some Jews who travelled around and drove out evil spirits also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to do this. They said to the evil spirits, "I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches." Seven brothers, who were the sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva, were doing this. But the evil spirit said to them, "I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you—who are you?" The man who had the evil spirit in him attacked them with such violence that he overpowered them all. They ran away from his house, wounded and with their clothes torn off. - Acts 19:13-16 (TEV)
They tried it in Jesus’ name and failed miserably. They failed miserably because the were not known, they weren't really followers of Jesus and it's likely they had no faith. Once in Matthew 17:14-20 the disciples tried to cast out a demon and failed and when they asked Jesus why He told them they failed because of their lack of faith.
The name of Jesus is wonderful. Through the years some have tried to use it to accomplish their wrong doings and in so doing have given the world a bad view of the name of Jesus. Before we try to do something in Jesus’ name, let’s make sure we are doing it right, that we are doing what He would have us to do, Let’s make sure we are ready - even in prayer, to do it in Jesus' name.
Here's Something To Ponder
- Do you show respect to Jesus' name?
- Do you pray in Jesus' name and mean it?