I didn't know that form of language was still in use.
I am so accustomed to movie cops shouting, "Police!" or, "Federal agents!" to announce their presence and their authority for telling someone to put down their weapons.
Those who choose to defy that command usually wind up either dead or in jail.
I could go out of my house tonight and tell someone to "Stop, in the name of the law," and after a momentary glance in my direction, be completely ignored, or laughed at. I have about as much authority to use "the name of the law" as the little girl playing in the neighborhood.
Christians--believers in Jesus--use His name with about the same effect.
In John 16:23, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you."
Yet, we see Christians and pre-Christians alike praying "in Jesus' name" and they receive nothing.
Many have decided that the Bible must not be true based on this experience alone.
However, could it be possible that we are not using this passage correctly?
(I would opt for that, rather than the former. "Let God be true and every man a liar" [Rom. 3:4]).
Contrary to popular belief and practice, "In the name of Jesus" is not a magical formula to be tacked on to the end of each prayer we say.
What did Jesus mean by saying we should ask in His name?
We should ask in the nature of and by the authority of Jesus.
The police officer is acting on behalf of and by the authority of the law. An ambassador acts on behalf of and with the full authority of the country she represents. Whatever they say is so. It's done.
When believers ask in the name of Jesus, it is so.
But, we don't see it "so," do we?
Why? Because we are not standing in the full nature and authority of the One whose name we use.
The name itself means little.
Before you start your e-mail campaign, read Acts 19:13-16. This is the story of the seven sons of Sceva. They tried to use the name of Jesus to drive out evil spirits. The demon said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?"
The name of Jesus meant little when used by those who did not have the authority, right, power, privilege of using that name.
Even though Christians bear the name of Jesus, for the most part they do not bear His nature. Therefore, they do not bear any authority when they speak His name. It is as if they have left their badge of authority at home instead of pinning it to their chest for all to see.
It is time for this charade to cease!
Take up your full authority as a Christian. Stand in the nature of the One whose you are. Learn what "In the Name of Jesus" means. As a beginning practice, try not tagging the familiar phrase onto the end of your public prayers. If you cannot do this, you will have some indication of just how far you have slipped from the reality of using the Name.
It is not a name we "use," but a nature in which we walk and live.
It is something we are only beginning to understand and experience.
Take your rightful place.
I invite your comments, criticisms and questions.
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