Summary: The name of Jesus makes all the difference and demands a difference from you and me.
A 4-year-olds' Sunday school class was just about to begin, when a little boy showed up without any identification. The teacher managed to get his first name, but couldn't find out his last name. “Brian, what's your daddy's name?” she asked.
“Daddy,” he replied.
She tried again, “Brian, what's your mommy's name?”
“Mommy,” he answered.
Suddenly she realized exactly how she could get the answer she needed. “Brian, what does your daddy call your mommy?”
His face lit up. With a grin and a deep voice, he replied, “Hey, Babe.” (Susan Boatright, Savannah, GA, "Heart to Heart”, Today's Christian Woman)
Names – Why are they so important?
When we lived on Washington Island in Wisconsin, a member of our church, who was on the town board, asked me to give the opening prayer for one of their town board meetings. There was only one restriction. I could not use the name of Jesus in my prayer. That’s because every time the name of Jesus was mentioned in the town board meeting, a local citizen, who was an atheist, would report it to the county attorney, and that attorney would fine the Town of Washington $500.
Well, I wrestled with whether or not I could pray without using the name of Jesus. After all, the only way anyone can come to the Father is through the name of His Son, Jesus. Without the name of Jesus, our prayers are a sham. But I decided to go ahead and give the opening prayer at the town board meeting anyway, and I closed my prayer with these words: “In the name of the One whose name is above all names, amen.”
They never asked me to pray again.
Jesus – What’s the big deal? Why is His name so important? In our politically correct culture, why risk offending people with the name of Jesus? Why not just worship Him quietly in our own minds? Why make such a fuss about Jesus’ name?
Acts 3:1-8 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. (ESV)
The beggar had requested money; but instead, he received a miracle. For over 40 years (4:22), he lay a cripple; but now, in the name of Jesus, he’s walking and leaping and praising God. And the people are astounded!
Acts 3:9-10 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (ESV)
How important is the name of Jesus? Well…
THE NAME OF JESUS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!
For 40 years, people had thrown money at “the problem,” but it really didn’t change the situation. Peter and John come along, without any money, they call on the name of Jesus, and in one afternoon, the man is thoroughly transformed from the inside out. The lame man not only walked, he worshipped the Lord!
The name of Jesus is ALL important. Without it, we’re just another social service organization; but with it, we have the power to change lives forever.
1200 years later, the pope was showing Thomas Aquinas the luxurious papal palace in Rome. As they toured the palace, the pope remarked, “Well, Thomas, the church in our day can not say, Silver and gold have I none.”
“No,” replied Aquinas, “neither can she say, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Rev. C. Perrin, as quoted by Rev. Aquilla Webb in, 1000 Evangelistic Illustrations, p.54)
The church had gained in wealth, but it had lost any real power. Oh, the pope was more powerful than any king in Europe at that time, but the church had lost its power to affect any lasting change in the hearts and lives of people. Why? Because they had ceased to operate in the name of Jesus. Instead, they operated in the name of political power and money.