Chapter 18 The Name of Jesus

Thou shalt call His name Jesus (Matthew 1:21).

“The name of Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, and joy in the heart,” said Bernard of Clairvaux. It is a sweet and mighty name—sweet because it is as “ointment poured forth” (Song of Solomon 1:3), and mighty because it is “above every name.” This name of our Lord’s is mentioned more than one thousand times in the New Testament. There is only one Lord Jesus Christ who is unique, Lord of all. No other could ever execute what He has accomplished in human redemption. For this work an infinite righteousness was needed, and expiation was needed for an infinite number of sins. For this the Son of God was needed. He alone could atone. Considering these things one can easily see that there is a sublime uniqueness in His Person.

His Divine Person

No man dare declare Himself to be what our Lord claimed to be. The claims He made about Himself are entirely free from self-esteem, self-assertion, or self-presumption. He does not speak with egotism or bigotry. He is unique and sublime. When other men say, “I am,” we become very suspicious of such a boast. But when the Lord Jesus says, “I am,” then we must pay attention. There are seven great “I am’s” of His in the Gospel of John and in them the Lord made the highest possible claims.

“I am the bread of life” (6:35). He did not originate on earth. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven”—the only One who can feed and satisfy the hunger of men’s souls. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness” (8:12). He alone can light our way and lead us through this waste howling wilderness and the dark valley of death to heaven above. “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved” (10:9). He alone can lead us into the salvation of God and into acceptance with Him, so that we can live with Him without fear. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (10:11). Unless He did so there could be no expiating blood and no justifying righteousness. “I am the resurrection, and the life” (11:25). He only, has broken the prison bars of death and come forth from the tomb with the power of an endless life. “Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (14:6). He alone is the way to the Father, the truth about the Father, and the life of the Father. “I am the true vine” (15:1). “He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” He alone is the source of all fruitfulness and usefulness in heavenly things.

His Divine Lordship

When any other man says, “But I say,” we esteem his dogmatism to be offensive—that he is a self-opinionated person. But when the Lord Jesus uses those words they are sublime and unique. This is the Son of God speaking, and when we listen to Him we are listening to eternal truth. There is a divine authority in His voice. When our Lord speaks it is never a mere view or opinion about things. It is not some conclusion drawn from helps received from books. His word is final and authoritative. Nothing He said can be questioned. No appeal can be made to a higher court. There is no higher court.

In the Gospels you will notice our Lord never argued—never reasoned by weighing the “pros and cons”—never used words such as “perhaps” or “maybe.” What He said was an expression of the mind of God and therefore His words were all-conclusive. “I say unto you,” was the last word on any matter.

When we listen to His words we hear the words of God because He is God. Nothing He said can be challenged. Whatever He said about God, man, creation, redemption, death, resurrection, heaven or hell, is absolute truth. No word He ever spoke has ever been seriously challenged since He spoke it. Every man knows that. He may deny the truth, but in his heart man knows what Jesus said is the truth.

His Divine Kingship

Whatever He did or said was with divine majesty and sovereignty. King Canute once tried to command the sea from coming in but had to move his throne back in a hurry. But when our Lord said, “I will,” even the winds and waves obeyed His voice. His word to the leper was, “I will; be thou clean,” (Matthew 8:3), and immediately every leprous germ died out in the man and disappeared. The leper was made wholly clean. His word also promises rest, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). His word also speaks of the future: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me” (John 21:22). His “I will” determines each man’s future. Then finally His word speaks about glory, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am” (John 17:24). This is the only time He used this authoritative word before the Father. He wills to put every believer safely and securely by His side.

O Saviour, precious Saviour,
Whom yet unseen we love,
O name of might and favor,
All other names above!
We worship Thee, we bless Thee,
To Thee alone we sing;
We praise Thee and confess Thee
Our holy Lord and King.

O Bringer of salvation,
Who wondrously hath wrought,
Thyself the revelation
Of love beyond our thought;
We worship Thee, we bless Thee,
To Thee alone we sing;
We praise Thee and confess Thee
Our gracious Lord and King.

In Thee all fullness dwelleth,
All glory and power divine;
The glory that excelleth,
O Son of God is Thine;
We worship Thee, we bless Thee,
To Thee alone we sing;
We praise Thee and confess Thee
Our glorious Lord and King.

—Frances R. Havergal