That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Philipians 2:10)
Custom among pious ancient Jews decreed that they should not pronounce the name JEHOVAH (YHWH). To do so was considered irreverent. This precedent carried over into the early days of Christianity, when many believers in Christ referred to our Lord simply as THE NAME, confident that He is indeed Jehovah-God. It was in holy reverence that they thought and spoke of Him. How different this is from the careless, disrespectful, and sometimes flippant way that that worthy name is used today — and the reference here is to the speech of some professing Christians!
Who can fathom the name of our Saviour? “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 10:43). “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15). “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (Jn. 14:13). In that name we are redeemed. In it we are cleansed. In it we worship. We pray in that name. We trust in it. Without it we should be eternally lost. Through it we have life and peace and joy.
The full name and title of the Saviour is THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. It is the title of His Deity, humanity, and work — of His Messiahship. It is a mark of respect and reverence to employ the full title when we talk about Him, or to say “The Lord Jesus” or “Our Lord.” This is not to suggest by any means, however, that it is wrong to use only the name Jesus.
Some years ago a friend who had been a Christian for about four decades had luncheon with me. We were discussing this very subject, deploring the widespread carelessness in referring to Deity. He agreed with me about the importance generally of using the full title for the Son of God. Then he said, “But don’t reprove me when I speak of Him at times simply as Jesus. My pastor called me down not long ago because, in public prayer in our church, I said, ‘O Jesus, we long to see Thee.’ I know His titles, but when I hear His name, Jesus, my heart fills with such love and gratitude that I think it may burst. I love Jesus. I love Him with all my being.” My friend’s eyes began to fill with tears.
No, dear friends, we shall never censure anyone whose soul is as filled with adoration and worship as was this man’s. Jesus is the name our Saviour bore in His humiliation, when He divested Himself of His glory and trod the cruel pathway of rejection. Although His disciples addressed Him as Rabbi, Master, and Lord, they also confessed to Him, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Yet in their Gospels, Matthew and John wrote of Him as Jesus.
It was Jesus who sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane. It was the name, Jesus, that was written on the superscription that was fastened to His cross. It was the body of Jesus that His followers sought on the resurrection morning. It was Jesus whom Mary saw in the garden; and Jesus who walked with two disciples on the Emmaus Road. It was Jesus who ascended through the clouds into heaven in the view of those closest to Him. It is the Man, Christ Jesus, who is now seated at the Father’s right hand. There He is highly exalted. He has been given “the name which is above every name; that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow… and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.”
When we believers, His blood-purchased Church, are with Him in heaven we shall serve Him. We shall see His face. And His name — not His title but His name — will be in our foreheads (Rev. 22:3-4). What is that name? JESUS. May we ever revere it and worship Him who bears it.
—E. Schuyler English
in The Pilgrim