“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” John 15:16
What is in a name? Because it must be important. Well, at least what’s in Your name must be important. You tell me that “whatsoever” I ask of the Father in Your name, He may, He will, give to me. Well, that’s some kind of a promise. But I had better make sure I understand what You mean.
So, do I get everything I ask when I pray “in Jesus’ name?” “I pray that You heal my friend, in Jesus’ name, Amen.” “I pray that You make sure we have really nice weather for the fund raiser, in Jesus’ name, Amen.” So, are those requests to the Father a done deal? Will He give these to me? Did I just really pray in Your name?
When the disciples, the apostles, heard this, what was going through their minds? It makes me rethink this verse. “I chose you and gave you the responsibility and ability to bear eternal fruit so the result of all this is, when you ask to bear this fruit and for what you need to bear this fruit of Mine, God will give it to you.” And what encourages God to give it to us? It’s not just that I ask, but who I ask in, or better yet, who I am identified in, therefore, who I am in.
Names were much more significant in the ancient eastern world than they are to us now. They weren’t just labels picked out because they liked how it sounded with the last name. They were also “symbols, magical keys, as it were to the nature and essence of the given being or thing.” (Ephraim A. Speiser) Rabbi Andrew David pointed out that “[i]n life, you discover that people are called by three names: one is the name the person is called by his father and mother; one is the name people call him; and one is the name he acquires for himself. The best one is the one he acquires for himself.”
Naming is a divine gift. God is it’s originator. In the name is the whole identity and essence of a thing. And God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. God named and it was everything that light is. It wasn’t just called light; it was light. Light’s character, light’s atomic structure, was created and established by God’s naming.
God’s naming represents our identity. The name defines us. The Hebrew belief is that the “names we are given at birth aren’t accidental. They are to some extent prophetic. They capture our essence…Your name is the key to your soul.” Rabbi Benjamin Blech states, “Names are a book. They tell a story. The story of our spiritual potential as well as our life’s mission.” And keep this in mind. I must keep this in mind, that God has created a name for me. It is my story. It is my spiritual potential. It is my life’s mission. And that name is “Christian.” That name means “in Christ.” That name is Jesus. And I am in that name. That name now represents me as I represent Him.
Abram received a new name from God because He was receiving a new life, a new identity. “Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made you.” (Genesis 17:5) Jacob’s name comes from the root word “heel”. He used to believe in “flight, not fight.” But then he chose to fight the angel instead of flee. “Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:29)
But we’re not talking about men’s names here. If I ask in Your name. This isn’t about asking in my name, or Abraham’s name, or Israel’s name. This is all about the significance in Your name.
“As his name, so is he” (1 Samuel, 25:25). Now this is talking about Nabal, and his name wasn’t a good thing. But I think this is perfect for thinking about Your name. As Your Name Is, So Are You. Your name, Your names represent Your power, Your actions, Your reputation. If I look at the Greek meaning of the word for name here, “onoma,” I see that it literally means authority, character. And that’s what Your name is all about. It’s all about who You are.
Hebraicly thinking, “a person’s name was viewed as equivalent to the person himself. A person’s name signified their person, worth, character, reputation, authority, will, and ownership.” (Jason Dulle) The name is the person. I need to say that again, the Name is the Person. When Proverbs says, “the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run to it and are safe,” it means You, God, are a strong tower. You are not like a strong tower; You are our Strong Tower. Your name is equivalent to who You are.
Jason Dulle went through Scripture and pointed out the significance of naming. He found that “speaking and writing in “the name” signified authority; naming something indicated one’s ownership of that person/thing; to forget God’s name was tantamount to departing from Him; acting in someone’s name was to represent them; to blot out someone’s name is to destroy that person; one’s name signified their reputation, and their character. Christ is said to have manifested the Father’s name, meaning that He has made His person known to humanity. To believe on the name of Christ is to believe in the person of Christ. To be gathered in Jesus’ name is to be gathered together in His mind, will, and purpose.
“Knowledge and use of God’s name does not provide power over Him but rather relationship with Him and responsibility to Him.” His identity and nature are revealed through His name which imparts to us His history and His words and His actions. Through His Word we learn of Him by relationship with His people. That’s what this is all about, being in relationship with You, Jesus. This is all about knowing You intimately. This is all about being under Your ownership, under Your authority, hiding in Your Strong Tower. This is all about letting You make Your name, my name. It’s all about giving up my identity to take on Yours. It’s all about dying to self and living to You and in You and for You. And I can only know Your name and understand Your identity and have a relationship with You because You revealed it to me, You chose me to know You.
To call on the name of the Lord, to ask in Your name, is to trust in Your faithfulness, to trust in all that You are. I can’t use Your name to force You to act. I don’t want to. Well, I hope I don’t want to. You are to be invoked by all that You are. When I ask for something that You are or something that is Your desire, it’s not even that You start doing it. You actually already were doing it. You were just waiting for me to join in with You so that I could rejoice in experiencing You with You. You want me to come near, so that I can experience You more. Your promises are true and You want to show that, but I have to know them, and I have to seek them in You, and then I will see them and I will experience them. But more importantly, I will experience You. You will come to me and bless me, not for the things I ask, but because I am seeking You, and all that You are will flow from You, because it has to, it’s who You are.
You want me to be bound up with You. You want me to be one with You. To be bound in Your name is to be bound in You. With Your presence, God’s presence is given to me. Because You “‘possess a relationship with God which none can perceive’” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament), as I place myself in Your identity, in Your name, I too possess that relationship in You.
Lord, may Your name, may Your identity, may Your life and all that You are, be glorified in me. May others admire me because they see You in me and it draws them to admire You. Count me worthy of bearing Your name, of representing You. You must make me worthy, but let me seek You continually. Let me seek Your presence, Your encouragement, Your correction, Your power, Your love. Let me seek all of You more and more every day. Remind me Who I represent. Remind me Who dwells within me. Enable me through all that You are to fulfil all the good pleasure of Your goodness and all the works of faith that You have for me in Your power. Let this be so that Your name, Your identity, You will be glorified in me and I in You, according to Your grace. Your name is precious because You are precious.