Written by: Jasmine Yow (Photos by: Lee Wei Jie)
What the name of Jesus means to me
There was a time in my life where I became bored with Christianity. After reading the same Bible and listening to sermons week in week out for 15 years, I needed more. I craved for more theories about our faith and for more answers to understand the religion better. I listened to more online sermons, read various books by acclaimed authors recommended by friends, yet nothing satisfied.
While seeking out the new may not necessarily be bad, it recently struck me: What if in the chase for the newest and the latest, we have neglected the cornerstone of our faith?
In July, I was in Australia attending a week-long conference, and on the last night, we took communion. The crowd settled in to partake of the ritual — a comfortable end to a good time in church. Little bite-sized wafers and cups of juice were passed up and down the stadium, the trays collected by the ushers at the end of each row.
As I looked down at what I held in my hands, the symbolism of the bread and wine suddenly became dizzyingly overwhelming. It became painfully clear that every truth spoken, every shout of praise that rang out in the auditorium, and every hand raised would not have been possible without one man’s life, death, and resurrection. I had a revelation about the name of Jesus — the significance of His broken sacrifice on the Cross breaking me.
Over the next few months, there was a growing need in me that needed to know and understand more about Jesus. As more was revealed in Scripture about His character, His ways, and His name; the more desperate and hungry I grew to dig deeper into Scripture. It was a sustained race to see if there was any end to this revelation, as if the recipient could exhaust the Giver.
In doing so, I found renewed insight into two of the oldest and most basic of truths: Jesus’ work on Calvary and the gravitas of His name.
Our perfect mediator
One of the events that transpired during this season was a growing revelation of God’s holiness. Entering into God’s presence in my own time was no longer something that could be taken lightly. How did I ever set aside time for Him so carelessly, thinking I did Him a favour by sparing Him a few short moments at the end of a long day to read a psalm half-heartedly?
This is God, who has set boundaries for the proud waves of the oceans (Job 38:11) and created every star and raindrop of the universe by His words (Genesis 1). He commands us to be holy, for He is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:16). However, instead of being set apart, I was constantly lured into loving the world and not holding fast to His perfect standard. Is it any wonder that Isaiah thought he was going to die when he came face-to-face with the Almighty (Isaiah 6:5)?
In the midst of this new terrifying reality, the name of Jesus became the hope that I clung on to — my Shield in the presence of relentless holiness. He became my intercessor, my go (cedere)-between (inter) with the Most High.
Isaiah 59:16 says, “He (God) saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” Due to our inability to fix our relationship with God, Jesus did the only thing that could have been done: He became our intercessor to restore us to our Heavenly Father. We found Him on the cursed tree, where the perfection of Yahweh clashed with the waywardness of humanity. Heaven and hell collided at the cross; Creator broken on behalf of creation.
Scripture states that since Jesus is our High Priest, we can now approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). With this renewed understanding of intercession, God also revived a dormant desire in me to stand in the gap and intercede for His kingdom and His people.
Does His name bear weight?
It is not uncommon today to hear the name “Jesus Christ” used as a curse or an exclamation. It is rarely spoken of with reverence, let alone used in power. His name is tossed out carelessly at the start of every dinner, as if a finishing touch that lends flavour to the meal in front of us.
I found my heart calloused and uncaring, as an indifference had bred from a familiarity to His name. “Jesus” was a tagline in my prayers — a shortcut to a powerful and meaningful conversation with a fellow believer. “Jesus” was convenient: a badge of credibility; a source of pride.
Yet, Peter declared to the assembly, “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, author’s emphasis). It is in this very name that the lame can walk, the blind receive sight, and those broken are made whole. It is through Jesus that God gives us the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).
His name, while powerful, must be stewarded with humility. Charles Kraft writes in his book, I Give You Authority, “But Jesus quickly put the issue of spiritual authority back into perspective for them by reminding them that their relationship to God is most important, not the ability to do spectacular things.” Luke 10:20 reminds us, “Don’t be glad because the evil spirits obey you; rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.”
I’ve come to see that revering Jesus’ name is a balancing act: the weight of anointing and authority on one end, and the weight of understanding man’s incomparability to God on the other. May we never take for granted the grace shown to us when He gave us His name to use for His glory.
No man has ample words or opinions sophisticated enough to do justice to the Cross and the name of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer today that we will continually pursue a greater revelation of Jesus. As we grow and mature in faith, may the name of Jesus grow increasingly precious and powerful in our lives.
The more we discover Scripture and delve into our hearts, may the name of Christ be repurposed in our hearts over and over again — each time allowing more space in our lives and more authority offered to our Saviour. Let us champion the name of our King with integrity, till every knee is bowed and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.