About Jesus Steve Sweetman
The Name Of Jesus
and Richard had just graduated from the police academy and began working
with the local police force. They
pledged to uphold the law in their profession as well as in their
private lives. If they
didn't, their work as police officers would be in vain.
day while investigating a robbery, Jason and Richard had a dispute.
They discovered that a mutual friend was the culprit.
Richard suggested they tamper with the evidence to protect their
friend. Jason refused,
knowing that this would mean he wore his badge in vain.
He would not be representing the law as he pledged.
Jason would therefore uphold the law, even if that meant
arresting a friend.
few minutes later, two other officers arrived at the crime scene and
Jason returned to the police station.
While Jason headed for his car, Richard tampered with the
evidence. When the other two
officers approached the evidence, they had no idea it had been tampered
with. Eventually the truth
of Richard's tampering was exposed.
He was subsequently fired. He
failed to uphold the law by misusing the authority given to him.
He wore his badge in vain.
the New Testament we see the phrase, "in the name of Jesus".
We often associate these words with the way we end a prayer, a
formula for water baptism, and more.
The real meaning to these words are not simply a matter of
and Richard represented the law in their community, and for that reason
they bore its name on their chest. In
like fashion, Christians represent Jesus in their communities.
We bear His name, not on our chest, but on our lives.
we bear the name of Jesus as Jason bore the name of the police
department, or as Richard bore the name of the police department?
Will we represent Jesus in vain?
The word "vain" reminds me of the third commandment.
It states, "you shall not take the name of the Lord your God
in vain". (KJV) I like
the way the NIV puts it. "You
shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God."
Richard took the name of the police department in vain because he
misused the authority given to him by defying the law.
As Christians, and as the church, we often do the same.
We misuse Jesus' name in how we represent Him to the world.
Taking the name of Jesus
in vain has little to do with using bad language, ending a prayer, or a
baptismal formula. In a
traditional marriage, a wife takes the name of her husband.
In salvation, we take the name of Jesus.
It's our responsibility to represent His name as He wants, not as
we want. When we promote
ourselves, our ministries, our denominations, our doctrinal distinctives,
our programs, or our buildings, more than promoting Jesus, we take His
name in vain. If we
represent Jesus poorly, we take His name in vain.
If we fail to preach the real Jesus, we take His name in vain.
All these things and more are a blatant misuse of the name of
Jesus. No wonder the world
can't see Jesus. It just
sees us and how we misuse His name.
Moses understood that he
represented the God of Israel to the rest of the world, and he didn't
want to do anything that would give a false representation of God.
He was so concerned about this that at times He thought that God
Himself wasn't representing His own name properly.
If you read Exodus 32 and Numbers 14 you'll see Moses telling God
that if He kills Israel
in the desert because of their sin, it would make Him look weak in the
eyes of the world. God could
I know Moses had other
reasons for speaking to God so boldly, but he was concerned about how
other nations perceived the God of Israel.
We should have the same concern.
How the world views Jesus is a direct result of how Christians
and the church represent Him. If
we fail to represent Jesus properly, the world will fail to see Jesus as
they should, and it will be our fault.
This may bother some, but
during a recent water baptism my friend and I performed, I used no
specific or traditional formula. I
simply said, "Jesus has given us the authority to baptize you, so
here goes", and under the water he went.
He was baptized in New Testament fashion.
Simply saying a traditional set of words as we push someone under
the water isn't what baptizing in the name of Jesus is all about.
"In the name of
Jesus" isn't a magical phrase.
These words simply
mean that we as Christians have been given both the authority and
responsibility to bear the name of Jesus as we represent Him to the
world. Representing Jesus is
more than preaching, as important as that is. It
includes such things as keeping your home and property looking nice in
your neighbourhood. You'd be
surprised how many Christians fail to represent Jesus in that respect.
It means treating your family members with love and respect,
being honest in business, and countless other things that occupy every
second of our lives. First
and foremost, it means actually being given the name of Jesus in
salvation. Not all who say
"in the name of Jesus" have been given His name, and, when it
comes to water baptism, being called by His name is more important than
How we live out our
responsibilities of bearing the name of Jesus will determine how the
world views Jesus. If we
fail in our responsibility, "we take the name of Jesus in