"So that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
The name of Jesus Christ has power because it is through Him that we are saved from our sins. This is not some magical spell or formula. The name of Jesus has power because with it we invoke Him Who is God-with-us. It is not the power of the combined letters and sounds that make up the name, but the power of God who hears us whenever we call upon Him. We do not command Jesus by invoking His Holy Name, but we are instead held bound by His Name. We who claim to be members of Christ’s Body, the Church, are obliged to do His Will.
In the ancient cultures of Jesus’ lifetime on earth, names were sacred. To mention someone’s name was to make them present. Your name and your will were one and the same. Your signature or symbol demanded the same respect and honor as your body; it was your honor made present in written form. To use someone’s name disrespectfully was to degrade their person and their reputation. This is why we have the Commandment “You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain (Exodus 20:7).” By invoking the name of God we are implying that whatever we are speaking in God’s Name is both true and in accord with the Will of God.
Thus, when we suffer for the name of Jesus, we make Jesus present. Not only do our actions remind people of Jesus because of our self-sacrifice made in imitation of Him, but we truly stand in persona Christi, in the person of Jesus, as we do His work in this world. Those who witnessed the preaching of the Apostle Peter saw something of Jesus’ power at work in him; three thousand persons were baptized when Peter encouraged them to repent and seek the forgiveness of sins “in the name of Jesus Christ.”
We who bear the name of Christ, who are called Christians, must take care to represent Him well in our words and our deeds. We are called to make Jesus present—to make his love visible through our free giving of ourselves. We serve to make holy His Name when we give our lives as He did, “so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn