What’s in a name?

Walking with the Spirit leads to revelation of the sort that exposes our fears and religious ideas. It startles me just how few words spoken by the Spirit have the power to throw down temples made by men and reduce them to rubble. Yet long after my own temple to man’s religious system was destroyed in my sight, there remain a number of buttresses and other fortifications within me that stand in opposition to the Spirit and Truth. As He pummels yet another of my religious relics, I’m reminded once more of Yeshua’s declaration in Matthew 24:2 “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Whether the physical temple in Jerusalem, or the ideological temples and high places within our minds and hearts, I believe He intends to throw them all down to ruin, that His Spirit and Truth would reign supreme.

It was in laying hands on my wife for healing from chronic leg pain and praying “… in Your name …” that He pummeled another of my religious notions, saying:

“You heal her.”

Say what?!? I have no power to heal anyone! Or do I?

younamedmewhatFor as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with a separatist mind set in some things – me from Yeshua. Or perhaps I should say, there are ways in which I own the truth of being IN Him, and ways that I see myself as separate from Him. For example, with regard to salvation, I am IN Yeshua without a doubt. Where it comes to healing however, I often see myself on the outside, looking in. Thus on the one hand, I identify as a son of of the Most High; while on the other, my self view is that of a beggar.

A laissez faire prayer

Consequently, when I prayed for healing and invoked the Savior’s name, I viewed myself like a conduit or intermediary between Him and the person I was praying for. That is not the prayer of truth, where Truth is recognizing and laying hold of my identity and inheritance in Him. Rather, it is a passive prayer, a laissez faire prayer, not unlike: “Lord, this is someone in need of healing – that’s our request. So I’ll just step aside now and You can heal them, or not of course, since it’s Your will after all …”.

Such is a lukewarm prayer; a wavering prayer. Absent the passion of faith, where faith boldly acts upon truth (Hebrews 4:16), such a prayer accomplishes nothing (James 1:6-8), except perhaps to make our Savior want to spit (Revelation 3:16)!

But how do I heal my wife? I’m just a man. I haven’t the power to heal anyone. After all, He said:

“I am the vine, you are the branches … apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

That ‘apart from Him I can do nothing’ makes perfect sense, since when it comes to healing, I have viewed myself apart from Him, like a beggar looking for a hand out. No wonder my prayers amount to nothing.

Still I tried the old way once more; laying hands upon my wife and praying for healing “… in Your name …”. The Spirit corrected me:

“In Our name.”

OUR name?!? Your name is the name above all names and I won’t be taking that name for myself anytime soon. It belongs to you and you alone, Lord!

“And yet I will write my name upon your forehead.” (Revelation 3:12 and 22:4).

Your name? On my forehead? I’m identified with Your name?

“Our name.”

Still I was reluctant to own His name and found myself looking for ways to say it that did not cause me to fear speaking what felt to me like blasphemy. Perhaps if I said “In YOUR name, Lord, and the name you have given me”? Would that be OK? There is no denying He was telling me to take ownership of the name, His name, and that He was giving it to me.

It helps to understand the nature of a name.

The greek word for “name” is “onoma” (G3686) and means so very much more than the pronoun by which we commonly address one another. “Onoma” refers to the very character and authority of the person himself. Yeshua’s “onoma” is far beyond our ability to describe, let alone understand, which is why I suppose we have called Him by so many different names (pronouns): Emmanuel, Lamb of God, Son of Man, Prince of Peace, The Living Water, The Way, Truth and Life, Rabbi, Messiah, Wonderful Counselor, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Great Physician, Bread of Life, Son of David, Alpha and Omega, the Great I AM, Yeshua, Jesus, the Christ, et al. How does one capture the infinite greatness of the Father and the Son, with limited human language?

Strangely, the one name I struggle to call Him, is brother.

Brothers are family. They share the name of their Father. But as often as I’ve felt like someone on the outside looking in, I’m hesitant to call Him brother and to completely own our Father’s name.

He that overcomes … I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. (Revelation 3:12)

As I was pondering all this, the Spirit brought to mind the words of Peter who encountered a lame man begging for alms at the temple gate called Beautiful. Peter said to him:

Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6).

What did Peter have that enabled him to give the gift of healing to the lame beggar? Why, it was the name (onoma) of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, of course. One can not truly give that which one does not own. Interestingly, the two words “have” in Acts 3:6, are different words in the Greek. It is the second “have” (G2192 “echo”) that means ownership. Thayer’s Greek dictionary defines it as “to have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing … to possess”. Yeshua gave and Peter received, owned and wore, the name (onoma) of Yeshua. By receiving and owning His name, the power of Yeshua to heal was Peter’s to give.

(John 17:6-26 JUB, excerpted) (6) “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou didst give me out of the world; thine they were, and thou didst give them me; and they have kept thy word … (11) And now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, those whom thou hast given me, keep them in thy name, that they may be one, as we are. (12) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost … (20) Neither do I pray for these alone, but also for those who shall believe in me through their word … (26) And I have manifested unto them thy name and will manifest it still, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

There is one verse in John 17 that impresses me with regard to receiving and owning (possessing – wearing) His name (onoma). It is verse 10:

“And all my things are thine, and thine are mine; and I have been clarified (glorified) in them.”

Everything the Son has He shares with His Father; everything the Father has, He shares with His Son. Consider now Yeshua’s parable of the prodigal son, in particular, the story of the older bother.

(Luke 15:25-31 ESV, excerpted) “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing … (28) But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, (29) but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends … (31) And he (the father) said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’”

The older brother was contemptuous of the younger and refused to receive him once he came to his senses and returned home. From my perspective, the greater tragedy of the prodigal son story, is the older brother who viewed himself not as a son in his father’s household, but as his servant, tasked with carrying out his commands. Though his father shared everything with his sons, his older son failed to receive anything from his inheritance because he saw himself as a servant and did not walk in his birthright as son who shared in his father’s name (onoma).

And so if ever you should hear me say “in Our name” when I pray, know that I am fully aware that Yeshua is the Name above ALL Names. Nevertheless, I want to acknowledge the names He has written, continues to write and will write upon me on the last day, which makes me Yeshua’s younger brother (Romans 8:29) and a son of His Father (1 John 3:1). It is in the sense that we are family, that I do in fact accept, receive, possess, own and wear, His name.

How could something so obvious have escaped me for so long?