About Jesus Steve Sweetman
In Jesus Name
Is Our Thinking Right?
As Christians we say we do everything "in the name of Jesus". Jesus tells us to do things in His name ( John 14:13, 14 & 26). The question should be asked at this point, what does this mean? Its my opinion that there is a lot of misunderstanding about the meaning of the phrase "in the name of Jesus".
We often will close a prayer by saying, "...and we ask this in the name of Jesus". We may also say that we visit the widows and orphans "in the name of Jesus". We will make our prayer requests known "in the name of Jesus". Jesus tells us that whatever we ask of Him in His name He will do for us (John 15:16).
When we ask something in His name, does that mean we simply add those five words to our request? Is praying in the name of Jesus simply saying a few extra words at the end of a prayer? Did Paul get his authority to cast out demons by merely saying "in the name of Jesus"?
I remember reading a book in the early 1970's called "In The Name Of Jesus". It was about casting demons out of people. It seemed to suggest that these five words were magical. Just say "in the name of Jesus" and the evil spirit had to go. Is this really the case?
It is probably clear at this point that my answer to these questions is a resounding no. Praying, or doing anything in the name of Jesus is far more than simply saying the words.
What Does It Really Mean?
If you work for General Motors as a salesman your boss will tell you to go and sell cars. In the process of selling a car there are particular rules and ways of doing it that is set forth by General Motors. If you want to keep your job you follow the rules. Why do they want you to follow the rules? You follow the rules because you represent General Motors. You do not represent yourself when selling a car. As an employee you represent the company who pays you. To be a good employee you will act according to company policy or else you won't be an employee very long.
The point that I am making here is that an employee represents his company and therefore needs to act according to company policy. You are a reflection of what the company stands for. In fact whatever you do as an employee you are doing it "in the name of that company". If you are selling cars for General Motors then each time you sell a car, you do it "in the name of General Motors". You do not sell a car in your own name.
If you had your own car lot on a street corner and billed it as a General Motors dealership when in fact you weren't authorized to do so, you would find yourself in court soon with a law suit on your hands. You can't set up a corner used car lot and add the words "General Motors Dealer" to your name. You would need written permission. You would have to pay the dealership fees and follow the dealership rules. Simply adding a few words to your name does not make you a General Motors Dealer.
This is exactly how it is in the Christian world. As Christians we do not live for ourselves. We do not represent ourselves. We represent Jesus. In one respect you might say that we are His employees. You could say that Jesus paid the franchise fees in order to allow us to represent Him. As Christians then we need to represent Him properly. We need to follow company policy. We need to do things the way He wants us to do them, not the way we want. When we live our lives like this, we are living "in the name of Jesus".
Simply put, the name of Jesus is more than adding a few words to a prayer. It is a lifestyle in which we are representatives of Jesus. All that we do, we do in accordance with His will and desire. When we live this way all that we do or say is done "in the name of Jesus". Everything we do is done under the umbrella of authority granted to us from Jesus.
What Did Jesus Say?
John tells us ( John 12:49 ) that Jesus did not do anything on His own. He said and did whatever the Father asked Him to do or say. You might say that He did things in His Father's name. He was God's representative to the world. That is why Jesus had so much success in His ministry. He did nothing outside of His Father's will. He did nothing outside of His Father's name. A matter of fact Jesus could say, "whoever sees me sees the Father" (John 12.:45).
Jesus also tells us the same about the Holy Spirit (John 15;26 and 16:13). He says the Holy Spirit will represent Him. Anything the Sprit says comes directly from Jesus. The Spirit does not act on His own. He only says what He hears Jesus say. He only does what Jesus wants Him to do. Therefore all that the Spirit says and does is done "in the name of Jesus".
What About Paul?
Acts 16:18 says, "...in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her..." Paul was casting a demon out of a girl in this instance. He casted the spirit out in the name of Jesus Christ. What does this mean? In modern day words he might have been able to say, "in the authority that has been invested in me by Jesus Christ I command that you leave this girl". Paul knew he had this authority because he knew he was a representative of Christ. He had been sent out by Jesus to perform his will on earth. Therefore this authority to do things in Jesus name had been given to him.
We Should Do The Same
All that we do should be based on what the Spirit and the Word tells us. Anything we do outside of this is not done in the name of Jesus. A selfish prayer with the words "in the name of Jesus" attached at the end is still a selfish prayer. Those five words do not make it a Godly prayer that needs to be answered. If the prayer is prayed within the boundaries set forth in Scripture and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit then that prayer is prayed in the name of Jesus, whether you add those words or not.
Any Christian activity, if done within the boundaries set forth in Scripture and inspired by the Holy Spirit is done in the name of Jesus. As Paul says ( Col. 3:17 ), "whatever you do , in word or in deed, do in the name of the Lord Jesus". He is saying that whatever you do, don't do it in your own name, don't do it in your own power. Do it as good representatives of Jesus by acting within the boundaries set forth in Scripture and with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Be a reflection of Jesus to the world around you. This is what the name of Jesus is all about.
Could this be the reason why so many of our prayers go unanswered? It may not be the only reason but I am sure it is a big reason. Even though we add the phrase "in the name of Jesus" to our prayer, that alone does not make the prayer in His name. When praying according to His will, within the boundaries set forth in Scripture and inspired by the Holy Spirit, that is an effective prayer.
In closing lets realize that the name of Jesus is more than words or a magic formula. It is a lifestyle based on Scripture and the work of the Spirit. We are Jesus' representatives. When we reflect His nature and will in our lives we are doing things in His name.