In Jesus’ Name
“… I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.” (John 16:23 NLT)
A new prayer-priority emerged for me: to remember my High Priest Jesus interceding throughout the day. After reading Ruth Gibson’s Chipped Dishes, Zippers & Prayer, I longed to be aware and give thanksgiving for the different ways Jesus helped me each day.
When Ms. Gibson’s children were young, she had a difficult decision to make. She wanted to return to graduate school, and she closed her prayer for guidance, “In memory of Jesus, whose mother never went to college.”
Ms. Gibson’s prayers prompted soul-searching for me. The typical closing phrase after my prayers was “In Jesus’ name.” Over the years, those final words became a habitual prayer component. Instead of acknowledging the way Jesus life-supported me on any given day, I merely repeated a phrase heard since childhood.
To recognize the hand of the Savior in my daily life became very important to me. Paul understood the abiding presence of Jesus and wrote about the spiritual boosts he received,
“That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” (Colossians 1:29 NLT)
I began to notice that on some days Jesus became my Prince of Peace. On others, he revealed himself as Counselor. And one particular night, he crossed stormy seas to climb into my rocking boat.
Nave’s Topical Bible lists over 200 names and titles for Jesus. Here are a few: Servant of Rulers, Faithful and True Witness, Good Master, Finisher of faith, Captain of the Lord’s Host, Righteous Judge, Sanctuary, Vine, Door, Fountain, Arm of the Lord and a Friend of Sinners.
The Hebrew writer’s instructions to “fix your thoughts on Jesus,” and “consider him” became a daily goal. After a time, for I’m a slow-learner, I began to recognize Jesus’ care to be constant, conformed to my need, and energizing.
Ruth Gibson was a link in bringing me to a deeper relationship with my Savior. One day, I spoke with her and expressed my thanks because her written prayers led me to holy ground.
Every Knee Shall Bow (Philippians 2:9-11)
Steven J. Cole, author, Bible.org
Suppose you had been out of the country during the recent NBA play-offs between Houston and Orlando. You had not heard that Houston swept it in four games. You had asked me to videotape the series so that you could watch the games after you returned. When you got back, I proposed that we place a $100 bet on the series. Would you take me up on it? Only if you wanted to give me $100! Why? Because the outcome is not in any doubt. Betting against a game where the outcome is certain would be utterly foolish.
And yet millions of people bet their eternal destiny against an outcome that God has declared absolutely certain. Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and is ascended to the right hand of God the Father where He awaits all of His enemies to be made His footstool (Ps. 110:1). God’s Word assures us that every knee will bow to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. And yet people go on betting their eternal destiny against this sure word from God, living as their own lords and saviors, as if God’s Word were uncertain or not true. In our text, the apostle Paul assures us that …
Because Jesus humbled Himself through the cross, God has exalted Him above all, so that all will submit to Jesus as Lord.
I want to set forth what this text of Scripture teaches; deal with some potential objections to that teaching; and, offer some applications.
THE CRUCIFIED, RISEN, AND ASCENDED JESUS IS NOW AT THE PLACE OF SUPREMACY OVER ALL CREATION (2:9).
“Therefore” takes us back to verse 8: Because Jesus was willing to humble Himself and be obedient to death on the cross, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every name. As we saw last week, Jesus willingly left the height of heights, laid aside His glory that He had with the Father from before the foundation of the world, and took on the form of a lowly servant, adding genuine humanity to His eternal deity. His deity was not diminished or laid aside, but rather was veiled during His earthly ministry, like an eclipse of the sun. But verse 9 tells us that after that time of veiling, God restored Him to that place of supremacy (John 17:5). “Highly exalted” is a word that occurs only here in the New Testament, and may be translated “super-exalted.” Thus Jesus went from the height of heights to the depth of depths and back again to the height of heights.
Jesus did not exalt Himself (although He could have), but the Father exalted Him, thus putting His stamp of approval on Jesus’ death as the satisfaction of the penalty for our sins. As Peter proclaimed to the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 5:30, 31): “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” The exaltation of Jesus proves that He defeated Satan, who could not keep Jesus in the grave (Col. 2:13-15).
Men did not exalt Jesus. They cast insults and abuse at Him. They jeered and spit upon Him and called Him names. But the Father gave Jesus the name above all names, the name “Lord,” which is equivalent to the Old Testament name of God, Yahweh, a name so sacred that the Hebrews would not even pronounce it. When they were reading the Scripture and came to Yahweh, they would read, “Adonai,” which means “Lord.” “Jesus is Lord” means “Jesus is Yahweh,” eternal God.
That this is Paul’s meaning becomes obvious when you compare Philippians 2:9 with Isaiah 45:22, 23: “Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue swear allegiance.” To whom? To God! Citing these verses, Paul says that every knee will bow to Jesus. Jesus is God, Yahweh, Lord!
Peter affirmed the same truth on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33-36): “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Thus any teaching, such as that of the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, which diminishes or denies the full deity of Jesus Christ, goes against the clear apostolic witness to Jesus. The Jesus who humbled Himself to the death on a cross has been raised up, ascended into heaven, and placed at the right hand of God the Father, in the place of supremacy over all creation.
Jesus is a name that elicits all kinds of reactions. Some people show indifference, others feel hatred, and many think of it only in a profane sense. But to those of us who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, His name is precious and higher than any other—and one day in heaven we will eagerly bow before Him.
In biblical times, names were given to represent the nature of the person, and this is certainly true of the titles by which our Savior is known:
Lord signifies His deity. Jesus existed before time as the eternal Son of God, and His divinity was never put on hold—not even when He humbled Himself to take the form of a man.
The name Jesus shows His humanity and His mission. This was a very common name among the Jews and the one by which our Savior was known as a man. Jesus means “Jehovah is salvation,” and that’s exactly what He came to do—“save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
Christ means “Messiah.” Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of the Messiah’s first coming. And the remaining messianic prophecies will be fully realized when He returns to reign on the earth as King.
When Pontius Pilate addressed the Jews, he uttered one of the most crucial questions in the Bible: “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matt. 27:22). We must each answer this same question, and the way we do will determine our eternal destiny. You’ll bow before Him one day, but will it be by choice and in grateful worship?
Power in the Name of Jesus!
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14 NIV)
There is power in the name of Jesus! First, there is power over the guilt of sin and the fear it brings. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, but Jesus paid the price for us when he shed his blood on the cross. If we put our trust in him, our sins are washed away, and we are set free. But God puts a conscience within all of us, and we know that we have done wrong. This knowledge of what we have done in the past, or even today, could torment us; but Jesus washes our conscience as well as our sins, so that we are delivered not only from our sins but from the guilt of our sins as well. This comes not by promising to do better but by simple faith in Jesus Christ that says, “Lord, I am a wreck. Have mercy on me and save me!”
There is also power in the name of Jesus to break the compulsion of sin so we can have a new life and be able to go a new way. He breaks the chains not only of gross sins but also of resentment, hatred, prejudice, worry, and fear, so that we can have a new beginning, a new heart, and a renewed mind. When we are born again by accepting Jesus into our hearts, we are a new creation. As we surrender our lives to the Lord, he looks at us not as we are, but the way we could be. He says, “Trust in me and you will see the glory of God in your life!”
Finally, there is power in the name of Jesus to give us peace that passes all understanding. In ourselves, we have no peace. It isn’t even a question of trying to walk in God’s peace. “My peace I give you,” says the Lord, so that no matter what you are going through, you will be rock solid, standing on firm ground.
How do we tap into this power? Jesus said, “You must be born again.” Do you know that you can go to church by rote and tradition every Sunday and not know Jesus? Or perhaps you used to serve the Lord, but you have fallen off the tracks. Today he is telling you, “I love you, and I have the best plan for your life.” Surrender to him today and experience the power of Christ in your life!