The Things I Hate About Jesus – Part 2

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”

but “Yeshua!”

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

celebration.

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

calling Him?

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?