What is in a name? In Exodus, Moses asked God what His name is, and God replied “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14 NIV). These words, translated from ehyeh aser ehyeh are boundless. In other words, God was here before, He is now, and He will be. God is self-existent.
When Jesus was born, his name was not uncommon among Jewish babies born in Israel. In fact, historians mention many other people living at that time with the name Jesus, and even the New Testament lists others with the same name. The actual word of course was not Jesus then, but Yeshua or Joshua. Yeshua is the literal Hebrew word for salvation, so it makes sense that people would name their babies after the awaited promise.
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he said to her “you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:31-32a NIV). All of the boys named Jesus up until then were salvation in name only, but this Jesus would grow up to embody the word himself. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV). And this Jesus was not only Salvation, but God himself. We see this in the book of John, when the Pharisees were taunting Jesus and asked him how he could have seen Abraham. “‘Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!’” (John 8:58 NIV). Can you guess what word “I am” was translated from? Ehyeh. The same word God used for His own name.
It is difficult to think of a name as anything more than an identifier, but the Bible teaches us a deeper meaning. In John 14:14 NIV, Jesus said “you may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” and Phil. 2:10-11 NIV states that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
We often hear someone end a prayer with “we ask these things in Jesus name.” Maybe we hear it so often we don’t ponder the kind of power we are calling down. Next time you use these words, believe the promise that as children of God who have been redeemed, whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be answered.
Your sister in Christ,