The Power of Jesus Name
There is a popular song that says, “There is power in the name of Jesus.”
I grew up singing, “There is Power in the Blood.”
These songs speak a truth that can transform our lives.
We all face enemies in life. However, our struggle is not against flesh and blood. The Bible tells us as much. In Ephesians 6:12, it tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”[i]
The struggle we are in can impact us in a number of ways. For example, the struggle we are in can bring fear and trouble, doubt and uncertainty and/or leave us lost and in the dark.
The death of Jesus on the cross brought all of these on His disciples.
Jesus spent 3 years building into the lives of a core group of 12, plus an assorted group of followers. If we go by the number of people gathered together after the resurrection in Acts 1:16, we can number these followers at about 120. The training of the 12 was especially intense as it was a 24/7/365 deal. They were with the Teacher constantly, and developed a close relationship with Him.
When Jesus went to the cross, He confronted all of the evil rulers of the unseen world. He confronted the mighty powers in this dark world, and He fought against the evil spirits in the heavenly places. He battled all of these and won. This was the ultimate confrontation of good and evil.
When they laid Jesus in the tomb, His followers thought the battle was over. Fear, uncertainty and dark ruled the day. John 20 tells us of the resurrection, and through this account, we will see how the power in the name of Jesus overcame the fear, uncertainty and darkness of that day. We will also see how this same power works in our lives today.
First, let us talk about fear and trouble.
Notice that John 20:19 says, “The disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.”
They had a lot to fear. There was more than a strong possibility that the Jewish leaders would try to round up all of Jesus’s followers and make sure that this was the last they would hear about Jesus.
These people were not being cowardly. They were in danger. The angel at the tomb told the women to tell the disciples that Jesus would meet them in Galilee. The Bible does not say why Jesus chose to meet them in Galilee, but one obvious reason was safety. Jerusalem was not safe. This was trouble, trouble that brought on the fear they were experiencing.
We all confront troubles in life that threaten our safety.
Trouble comes in all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes trouble keeps us awake at night. At other times, we hide from it behind locked doors. We all have fears that we have to face as a part of our troubles.
In John 14 Jesus was preparing His disciples for the trouble they were about to face. He said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” (John 14:1) In John 20 at the conclusion of the trouble, He appeared in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19) He gave the same message before and after the trouble.
Notice He came in spite of locked doors. This is consistent with His character. When we shut the world out because of our fears and troubles, He still has a way of getting in.
He does not just give us words of comfort. Jesus gave His disciples an assignment. “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (John 20:21) And then, He gave them His power, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not take away the troubles. He reassured the disciples that they could trust God. He gave them purpose so there was a reason to face their fear. Then, finally, He gave them power to face the trouble.
Because of the Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ, the presence of Christ and the power of Christ in our lives. This is the meaning of Jesus’s promise to be with us to the end of the age.
Whatever the trouble, we have His reassurance that we can trust God. We have the purpose of being His witnesses in all our trials. Then finally, we have the power to face the trouble.
There is power in the name of Jesus to help us face fear and trouble.
Next, we will talk about doubt and uncertainty.
John 20:24 tells us one of the twelve named Thomas was not there when Jesus appeared. When they told Thomas what had happened Thomas said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” (John 20:24)
Thomas was no different from the other disciples. If you look back at verse 20, you will see that as Jesus was standing among them, He still needed to show them the wounds in His hands and side in order to convince them.
They had been through a traumatic week. They had seen Jesus stripped, beaten, nailed to a cross and pierced with a spear.
Luke tells of two men on the road to Emmaus who walked with Jesus and did not recognize Him. Mary, at the tomb, did not recognize Jesus until He said her name. Whatever else was going on, these individuals were not able to see past what they had experienced. In other words, the beating, hanging and death were such great realities to them that they could not process what their eyes were telling them.
There are times in life when the physical reality of life seems to negate everything we profess to believe. We all face doubt and uncertainty. It may be different for you than it is for me, but we will all face it. It may be the death of a loved one, sickness and disease, financial collapse or the failure of a relationship. Whatever it is, the reality challenges our faith and brings us doubt and uncertainty.
This is what happened to the disciples and to Thomas in particular.
Jesus handles this by showing Himself to Thomas, addressing Thomas’s doubts and challenging Him to be more trusting.
However, Jesus waited 8 days.
These must have been the most difficult days of Thomas’s life. For some reason, the growth of our faith requires these dry, silent times. These are days when God does not seem to be there. These are painful, trying days. Job went through them. Thomas went through them. We all go through them.
These are days worth enduring. The reason is that at the end, we see Jesus more clearly. Jesus singled out Thomas, and showed him exactly what he needed. He does this for us too. James tells us, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (James 1:2-3)
Look at Thomas’s response. He says, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
Once we pass through the doubt and uncertainty and are confirmed in our faith, it results in praise to God. This is why I say these are days worth enduring. I never want to go through these days again. However, I am so much richer for having endured them.
Jesus then challenges Thomas to be more trusting. It is the same advice He gave the disciples before He went to the cross. Trust in God. Trust also in me. (John 14:1) I find this meaning strongest in the words, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Isaiah 26:3 teaches this when it says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.”[ii] (ESV)
This is the key to weathering the storms of uncertainty and doubt. We must trust God. We cannot allow what has so clearly been displayed to us in the light of day to be stripped away by dark days.
The disciples had just been through the darkest days in all history. The sun had been darkened and an earthquake had accompanied the death of the Son of God. Now they were on the other side of these events.
Jesus won victory over death, hell and the grave. Jesus was alive. Jesus is alive still today.
John tells us, “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book.”
This world is a dark place. John starts out His account of the life of Jesus by saying Jesus was a light that shined in the darkness. He healed the sick, freed those oppressed by demons, gave the blind their sight, turned water to wine and even raised the dead to life. According to the gospel writers, He did too many of these things to record them all.
The ones that are recorded are for our benefit, so that we can believe. They are for light and hope in this dark world.
The disciples had found hope. All of them were willing to die for what they believed, and all but John had the privilege of dying for their testimony. They had seen the darkness in the world and had tasted of the victory over it that Jesus won. They knew that there is only one place to go for life. There is life in Jesus.
They wanted us to know that there is power in the name of Jesus.
They wanted us to know: “by believing in him you will have life by the power of His name.” (John 20:31)
[i] Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Steam, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
[ii] Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.