All my life, I’ve heard Christians repeating the phrases, “No other name
but the Name of Jesus” or “In the Name of Jesus.” I’ve used those
phrases a few million times myself. Then, one day, a woman handed me
a brochure stating that we Christians were all destined for Hell because,
after all, the name in which we had misplaced our trust was NOT “Jesus”
I argued, “What if I’m from Mexico and I cannot easily or accurately
pronounce the “Y” sound and wind up saying “JAY-shua.” Am I doomed
to Hell, or does God give Hispanics points for trying?” While she
pondered the thought, I continued, “What if I’m a deaf mute and can’t
say anything at all? Does God grade on a curve?” She had no answers,
just a puzzled expression.
Earlier this week, when I ministered by phone to people from a Muslim
country, whenever I used the name of Jesus, each time, the interpreter
was translating it as something else. Did it “count”?
When it comes to the things I hate about Jesus, His Name ranks right
near the top. No, it’s not the letters or the sounds they, make when we
put them together; it’s the religious bondage that has occurred BECAUSE
of that Name. The main perpetrators? English-speakers, of course.
For starters, the name of the babe born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph
about 2000 years ago was not pronounced “JEE-zus.” (Did you hear those
bubbles burst?) Most scholars agree that the common language of the
entire region was Aramaic and that Jesus probably SPOKE Aramaic and
was most likely NAMED in Aramaic. The modern transliteration of His
Aramaic name into English has been written in many forms, including Yeshu’,
Eesho’ or Eshoo. There were, and still are, many different, and often
contradictory, dialects of Aramaic, making it impossible to know for certain
how His Name was actually pronounced way back when.
His Name in Hebrew is commonly transliterated into English as Yeshua,
which is a Hebrew contraction for the name Yehoshua meaning “Yah is
salvation” or “Yah saves.” Many Biblical references, such as Young’s
Analytical Concordance, have concluded that His Name was Yeshua.
Although the spelling “Iesus” or “Iesvs” was used in the King James version
of the New Testament from 1611 to 1628, by the year 1629 the King James
version began to adopt the spelling “Jesus.” Gradually, during the 17th
century, the name shifted from “Iesus” to the pronunciation “Jesus” that we
are still using today. Think about that…2,000 years of Christianity and we’ve
only been referring to Christ as “Jesus” for less than 400 years!
When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” do we honestly think
He was referring to Himself – the flesh and blood human man named, Jesus?
When someone wants to talk to me, Michael Tummillo, they can use any
number of methods, WAYS, if you will. There’s the phone, email, US Mail,
or they can knock on the door of my home, NONE of which are actually me;
rather, they are each a way TO me. Likewise, Jesus – who actually referred
to Himself as “the Door” – was the WAY to the Father; an entrance.
Am I saying there are many ways to God? Perish the notion! But if we think
that one man going by one particular name was our in-road to Heaven simply
because He bore that name, and that we are saved or even empowered in
spiritual warfare simply because we USE that Name, we are ALL sadly
mistaken. In fact, the name “Jesus” back then was about as common as the
name “Bob” is today.
THE RICHNESS OF A COMMON RITUAL
Most Christians will close a prayer with the phrase “In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
When we do this, what are we saying?
Prayer “in Jesus’ Name” is taught in John 14:13-14, “And I will do whatever
you ask in My Name [however it was pronounced] so that the Son may bring
glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in My Name [whatever it
was], and I will do it.” Many Christians mistakenly believe that by saying “In
Jesus’ Name” at the end of a prayer results in God always granting what is
asked for. This is essentially treating the words “in Jesus’ Name” like Ali Baba
using the magic words, “Open sesame!”
Biblical scholars point out that the expression “in the name of” originally meant
“in the spirit of” or “in the manner of.” In other words, simply saying “in Jesus’
Name,” doesn’t mean that a particular prayer really IS in Jesus’ Name. Praying in
someone’s name means that we are saying, or agreeing with, the kinds of things
that person would say or do or those that He taught.
For instance, a prayer that is in keeping with Jesus’ teaching might begin by
acknowledging the plight of the poor. Jesus singled out the sick, the hungry,
the imprisoned, and told His disciples they would always find Him among what
He described as “the least of these members of My family.”
A prayer in Jesus’ Name might also include a prayer of blessing for that is in
keeping with His teaching to love our enemies and to bless those who curse us.
Praying in Jesus’ Name means, basically, praying what Jesus taught us to pray
by His example. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we
ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears
us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Essentially, praying in Jesus’ Name is praying for things that will honor and glorify
the King and advance the Kingdom.
Saying “In Jesus’ Name” is meaningless. Genuinely praying in Jesus’ Name – from
the same Spirit of Jesus that resides within YOU – is what is important, not
attaching certain words to the end of a prayer. It is not the words that matter, but
the purpose behind the prayer. Praying for things that are in agreement with God’s
will is the essence of praying in Jesus’ Name.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
A friend of mine was doing missionary work in Africa many years ago. His team
encountered an elderly woman sitting in the desert upon a rock. When they asked
what she was doing, she told them she had been talking to the Great Spirit and He
told her white men were coming to tell her His Name. My friend, through a translator,
told her His Name was “Jesus.” She returned to the tribe and they had a great
What if my friend had told her that God’s Name was “Howard” (as in “Howard be
thy name?”) Seriously, would it have mattered at all to Father God what they were
Now, let’s pretend you’re a young lady in Baghdad. You love God with all your heart
and are told, all your life, that His name is “Allah.” Armed with that knowledge, you
worship Him the best and only way you know how until the day you die. The same
applies to any scenario for any people group anywhere in the face of the Earth…
does it not?
Therefore, I guess I’ll go on calling Him “Jesus” – the man who was filled with the
Holy Spirit when He descended UPON Jesus like a dove, that same Spirit that raised
Him from the dead and now dwells within us, the Anointed One (Cristos, or Christ)
who, as the Anointed Head, still leads and directs His Body by means of Hs Spirit
which He gave to His followers.
Are YOU one of His disciples? Are YOU a follower of what’s His Name?