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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Faith in His Name

Faith in His Name

"His name...by faith in his name...has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all." Acts 3:16 (ESV)

The small church in Jerusalem has exploded into a community of believers following the breath-taking miracle of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Inspired by the Spirit, Peter has experienced a radical change, from arrogant fisherman and spineless coward, to a passionate, powerful pastor and preacher.

Peter and John have just seen a man lame from birth healed instantly at their faith-filled command to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Peter preached to the amazed crowd that witnessed the healing, pointing to God as the One Who glorified Jesus as the Holy and Righteous One and the Author of Life, killed by the very people to whom Peter was preaching, raised from the dead by God three days later.

NAME: onoma (a name, conveying authority and character)

The name of a person, or a thing, represents some outstanding feature of that thing.

"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21 (ESV)

"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us)." Matthew 1:23 (ESV)

Two outstanding features of Jesus were that of His salvation and His divine nature.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)

The Hebrew meaning for "name" is similar to that of Greek:

NAME: shem (an appellation, a mark or memorial of individuality, implying honor, authority, character)

The English word, appellation, comes from the word, appeal, meaning to approach or invoke. A person would approach a ruler or judge, appealing for help or justice, relying upon that ruler's authority or that judge's wisdom.

Jesus was given the appellation, or name, of Immanuel because the name described His outstanding features: He was God, made in human form, appointed Savior.

The sound of His Name, or the letters that represent the sounds, were not the Source of healing. Rather, it was Peter's dependence and trust in the authority and power of Jesus. Calling out by name to Jesus is a demonstration of faith in Him alone.

Could Jesus have healed the man merely upon the inward thoughts of Peter? Could Peter have simply prayed inwardly, silently?

Certainly the power of Jesus to heal does not depend upon human thought or will. But without speaking aloud, without naming the Specific Source of Healing, there would be no glory given to Jesus. The fact that Jesus required Peter to name Him aloud supports the truth that God's chief end is to glorify Himself.

Jesus desires glory. He desires men and women to acknowledge and depend upon and rejoice in His authority and power.

Jesus wants us to name Him aloud.

What do you think? Is there biblical support for God seeking His own glory? Does God do anything secretly?

Image courtesy of Google Translate.