Your Great Name — Song Devotional

Michael Neale

neale head forward


“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11, NIV)

The poetry of Philippians 2:5-11 is so great that most scholars believe it to be a fragment of an early hymn—a worship song from the early Church! Whether this song was composed by Paul or just quoted by him, it contains some of the clearest and most memorable teaching about the person of Jesus in the New Testament and ends with a passionate crescendo of praise: “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…”

But, what does it really mean when we talk about “the name of Jesus?”

Old Testament scholar Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. has accurately described the concept of “name” in the ancient world. For an individual in that era, “his ‘name’ was his person, his character, his authority, his power and his reputation.” [Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible]

In other words, a name was more than a label. A name stood for all that a person was.

Take a look throughout the book of Acts and it’s clear that the name of Jesus was vitally important to the early believers. There are over twenty mentions of “the name of Jesus” - driving out demons, baptizing new believers, igniting faith, releasing forgiveness, inspiring preaching, causing repentance, powering teaching, risking life and sparking physical healings. All of these are carried out in the name of Jesus.

But just saying “Jesus” was not - nor has it ever been - a magic word. At the same time as all those amazing things were happening in Jesus’ name, the early Christians were also all too familiar with opposition, imprisonment, suffering, persecution and martyrdom.

Saying “Jesus” means invoking all that He revealed Himself to be. It means aligning and identifying ourselves with Him. It means representing Him and speaking on His behalf, as one under His authority.

As a result, the world the apostles lived in was rocked - in both good and difficult ways - by the power of the name of Jesus. After being flogged for preaching in Jesus’ name, Acts 5:41 says, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (NIV)

We need to not just speak the name, but live the name! And if we represent it well, then we can expect that the lost, the condemned, the weak, the hungry, the fearful, the fatherless and the sick of this world will continue to be impacted by that great name. Then one day, we will all see the One who is represented by that name exalted over all, and we will fall down in worship of the Lamb Who was slain.

Then at the person, character, authority, power, and reputation of Jesus, every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!


Things to consider:

• What are some of the other titles given to Jesus in Scripture besides Savior, Defender, Redeemer, and Healer? What other facets of His character do they reveal to us?
• Do you use the name of Jesus as a “magic word” instead of a representation of who He is and what He has done? In your prayer, is His name merely punctuation, or sincere acknowledgement of who you are addressing and all that He is?
• What portion of your worship songs actually contain the name Jesus? Or, do they just center on you, your situation and issues? Do you point to the authority and awesome power of the Son of God, the Word become flesh, and the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection? We should be telling His story and lifting up His name. 


By Fred J. Heumann

Copyright 2014 Integrity Music, a division of David C Cook

Share this page