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In the name of Jesus
- Jacob Ninan
For many people, the 'name of Jesus' is like a magic phrase that Jesus has given. They use it to try and get whatever they want from God. They ask for healing, whatever material things they want, promotion, triumphing over their enemies, solving problems, etc., using the name of Jesus. Many people think that 'in the name of Jesus' is the way to end prayers and the cue to say, "Amen." Did you know that 'the Lord's prayer' doesn't end with this phrase?
When Jesus was getting ready to leave this world, He told His disciples that they could now start praying to the Father in Jesus' name (Jn.14:13,14), something that they were not doing till then (Jn.16:24). So far they could not have any direct access to the Father (the priests had to mediate between them). But now that Jesus was opening a way into the Most Holy Place (the part of the Old Testament tabernacle representing the very presence of God), they could walk right in, with boldness and confidence (Heb.10:19-22). This is the authority given to all who believe in Jesus and are born again. That authority is what is represented by the phrase 'in the name of Jesus'.
When a traffic policeman stands at an intersection, he represents the authority of the government. All people have to submit to him, even though physically speaking he may not have the power to stop a motorbike, let alone huge multi-wheel trucks. The authority of the name of Jesus is given to us so that in that name we may be able to stand before the Father, ask Him for things we want (anything according to the will of God - 1Jn.5:14,15), command demons to flee, bless people, etc.
What we need to know is that even though Jesus has given us the privilege to use His authority, it is still He who decides what to do for us, and does them. We don't have the power in ourselves. We may imagine that when Peter asked the lame man to walk in the name of Jesus (Ac.3:6) he was exercising some power that was in him. But Peter himself was very clear in his mind that it was not he but Jesus who had done the miracle (vv.12,16). God is very jealous of His name, and He will not tolerate anyone who tries to steal from His glory (Is.42:8).
We would be wrong if we think that Jesus has given us a blank cheque to write anything in His name (Jn.14:14). That would be totally foolish for Almighty God to give us such a free choice because the results would be disastrous. We need to only remember how Adam and Eve messed up the one choice they had to make! So, God holds the final authority to decide what is good for us. It is safe for us that way! 'In the name of Jesus' also implies that what we ask should be in line with His character.
When we truly trust Him, we must be willing to leave the final decisions to Him, even though we are free to express to Him whatever we want. It is this freedom to 'ask Him anything' that Jesus offers us. But we mustn't imagine from there that we can get anything we ask by using Jesus' name.