What Is Special About the Name of Jesus?

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This article is an installment of Holy Joys Questions. Submit your questions to questions@holyjoys.org.

Question: There seems to be a special emphasis on the name Jesus in Scripture. It is a name above all names. There is no other name whereby we can be saved. Miracles have been performed using that name. Why not use the name “Messiah,” “Savior,” “Master,” or another cognomen? There is something about the name of Jesus that carries a deeper significance and spiritual power than I have been able to fully grasp. What is it?

I share your conviction that there is something special about the name of Jesus. However, I don’t think that it’s in the letters J-E-S-U-S. In Greek, the name would be pronounced like Yesus. In Hebrew, it is almost certain that his name would have been Yeshua or, less likely, Yehoshua. The significance of the name is not in its pronunciation. The significance of the name is in the person represented by the name.

The significance of the name Jesus is in the person represented by the name.

In my article, “Praying in Jesus’ Name,” I attempted to explain what it means to do something “in the name of” someone in Scripture. The basic idea is that the person doing something “in the name of Jesus” is doing it as a representative of his authority and on the basis of his character.

Jesus has a comprehensive authority. He said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and in earth… (Matt. 28:17).” Jesus is an exclusive authority. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me (John 14:6).” Jesus is a polarizing authority. Either you are with him, or you are against him (Matt. 12:30; Luke 11:23). Jesus is a radical authority. He calls us to self-denial self-sacrifice and ultimately martyrdom, if necessary, for his sake (Matt. 16:24). He is a demanding authority. He says that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that he, Jesus, is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Isa. 45:23; Phil. 2:9-10).

Names like “Messiah,” “Savior,” “Master,” or other such names are far less offensive than Jesus because they are titles which can be attributed to a variety of persons. They represent an easily malleable face. There is only one Jesus, the son of man, the Son of God, born of a virgin, who died, was buried, rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead.

The person represented by the name Jesus is the Father’s beloved son. He is the second person of the Godhead. He is the chosen cornerstone who is the founder of the church and the finisher of its faith. He is the conqueror of death, hell, and the grave. He is the captain who led captivity captive. He is the High Priest who offered himself through the eternal Spirit as the atonement for our sins. He is the one mediator between God and man. He is the one who put principalities and powers to an open shame. He is the savior whose feet will split the Mount of Olives when he touches down to rescue His people. He is the one whom demons fear.

It is at his word that Satan shall be bound 1000 years in the abyss. He is the one at whose judgment seat believers will receive their just reward for all that they have done of profit and not of profit in this life. It is at his word that the sea, death, and Hades will give up their dead. He is the one who will sit on the great White throne and judge all men.

What a mighty name! What a mighty person! What a truth to grasp and not let go! All glory be to Jesus!

 


 

Originally published in God’s Revivalist. Used by permission.

Philip Brown
Philip Brownhttp://apbrown2.net
Dr. Philip Brown is Graduate Program Director and Professor at God's Bible School & College. He holds a PhD in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University and is the author of A Reader's Hebrew Bible (Zondervan Academic, 2008).