What’s in a Name?

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. —Acts 4:12

There are certain names that are invested with authority. Once, when I was hosting a recorded program for the British Broadcasting Corporation, I took the recording away for the necessary editing but left it by mistake on the train home, realizing my error too late.

Distraught, I entered the stationmaster’s office and asked if my briefcase could be returned to the station on the next train.

“Yes,” I was told, “but not today. It will take two or three days. Name please!” My informant brought out a pencil and form.

“Oh!” I exclaimed. “But inside the briefcase is a recording for a broadcast—tomorrow—on the BBC!”

Pencil and form were discarded. “BBC, eh? We’ll have your briefcase back within the hour, sir.”

That’s all it took! “The BBC.” What power can lie in a single name!

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So …. what’s in a name? That depends on the name! Christ’s is the highest Name of appeal. Actually, everyone knows that. Even those who blasphemously use the Name of Jesus as a swear word seem to recognize that it is the highest Name you can utter. They never swear by the founder of any other belief system!

In Acts chapter 4, the apostles Peter and John were being questioned by Jerusalem’s religious leaders as to the power—or name—by which a well-known disabled beggar had been miraculously healed.

Peter’s reply was eventually summed up with words that have become known and loved across the world. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

There’s Power in the Name

It was by Christ’s Name, declared Peter, “whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:10).

Peter moved swiftly on—from the healing of a single man to the salvation offered to the world!

The Name was the key. The only Name. The double negative emphasized this: There was salvation in “no one else” and by “no other name.”

There’s power in the Name. Indeed, those who were once under occult bondage learn that, by the Name of Christ and by the power of His blood, the whole threatening underworld is disarmed (Colossians 2:15). Satan cannot stand against the blood of Christ, the Word of Christ and prayer in the Name of Christ. There’s power in that Name.

There’s Boldness in the Name

Jerusalem’s leaders were “astonished” at the courage of the apostles who—despite being untrained religious non-professionals—out-preached their interrogators, who could only observe that “these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Peter had quoted Psalm 118 to his interrogators. In getting their own Messiah crucified, they—the appointed “builders” of Israel—had rejected the very stone on which their whole system was built!

There could be little reply to such bold talk. The authorities could observe the healed man for themselves, and they were nervous about antagonizing the many who had been thrilled at the healing of a man known so well at Jerusalem’s temple. They could only order Peter and John away, while they held a secret conference together.

All they finally did was to vainly order a halt to the apostolic preaching of Christ’s Name.

There’s Offense in the Name

It was never the miracles, but rather the preaching that so rattled the authorities.

“Offense at the Name! That is exactly what it is. Many of the apostles were killed—because of the Name. It has always been “the name that is above every name” that has drawn the hatred of the world.”
-Richard Bewes

Offense at the Name! That is exactly what it is. Many of the apostles were killed—because of the Name. It has always been “the name that is above every name” that has drawn the hatred of the world. This is apparent in the great persecutions throughout history, and supremely so today. The reports are common—of wicked accusations blazoning out, as crowds descend with stones and torches on lovers of Jesus; the nearby police standing impassively by, as the onlooking crowd screams praises to their god. “The time is coming,” said Jesus, “when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God” (John 16:2).

There’s Favor in the Name

Joy took over much of Jerusalem that day. The familiar disheveled figure who had been seen year after year, lying at the temple gates, was now skipping about in his praise of Jesus!

No immediate punishment was inflicted on the apostles. How could it be? All the people were praising God. They were like the crowds in Mark 7:37 who could only exclaim of Jesus Christ, “He has done everything well.”

The care of widows and orphans we owe to His disciples! The founding of our original universities—set up publicly to the praise of His Name! The sending out of workers among leprosy patients, the sanctioning of marriage, the rising of men like Ashley Cooper, Charles Brace and George Müller in their help of the poor! The leaving home on the part of men and women by the tens of thousands to scour the world for precious souls!

And above all: He came, Himself. Around the world today, people are meeting by the millions in that great Name—across sprawling urban conurbations, in migrant and refugee centers, within forests, deserts and villages and in blackened war zones.

Acts 4:12. Commit it to memory today! D ©2016 Richard Bewes

Richard Bewes is a preacher, broadcaster and hymn writer. He serves on the board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in the United Kingdom and is the former rector of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London.