What IS it about a name that can get people so riled up? Why is it that when I say “Obama”, hackles start to raise, or if I say “Mother Theresa”, you might start to calm down. What about “Hitler” or “Mickey Mouse”? I think it’s because there are a lot of things attached to any name. Just like keys attached to a key ring, ideas, a face, statements, and ideals are attached to names. The name of Jesus gleans many different reactions depending on the person’s relationship with Him and the statement just made about Him. Someone who doesn’t know Him may be curious or cautious. Someone who’s had a bad experience with a Christian in the past may express anger or resentment. With myself, at the mention of the Name of Jesus, an intense sense of peace and joy washes over me and a smile usually creeps across my face – if the statement is simply His name or His truth. But when I hear His name used in a derogatory way I have an intense anger and a defense reflex rises up in me. Hmmmmm…… you want to know how I picture the Enemy’s response to the name of Jesus? I picture them with looks of absolute fear and terror on their faces as they flee in seven different directions!
In John 15:20-21 Jesus tells us to “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My name, for they do not know the One who sent Me.” There is POWER in a name. (Jeremiah 10:6) Moral of the story, when you take a step, any step, into Enemy territory in the name of Jesus, expect a battle!
The Enemy will use whomever he can to get to you too, the closer the better! Three years in a row, at harvest time, I have had 1) a very close friendship shatter, 2) a close family incident, and 3) another slightly more distant family incident all because of my bold faith. The past two years it’s been my family concerned for my sanity of all things. Because they’ve thought that I’m too overboard with this “God-thing”. It’s interesting to me, when the first incident with my family occurred I played a bit of Bible roulette (Pray about your situation and ask God for advice then open to a random page and see where your eye falls), and God gave me Mark 3:21. “When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” Now, if Jesus’ family, who was present on the day at the wedding when He turned the water into wine, and His mother was quite present on the day of the immaculate conception, would think Him crazy enough to feel they needed to come “take charge of Him”, then of course my family will do that too when I start preaching and ministering in His name! In fact, how could I expect anything less?
Jesus tells us in Luke 12:49-53 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Jesus didn’t come so that everyone would agree… in fact His death caused even more arguing on the earth. And it’s certainly been that way ever since! The life of a disciple of Christ is not going to be like a ride on the lazy river at Holiday World, it’s a battle in the War of Words!
Jesus warns His followers while traveling one day that “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty-thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-33) Jesus is telling His followers both then and now, that we MUST put Him first ALL the time or we can’t be His disciples. We have to be willing to leave absolutely positively EVERYTHING to be with Him and follow Him every single step of the way, all the way to the cross and beyond. Following Christ, costs some people their lives!
But Jesus also gives us some reassurance too. Peter starts the conversation in this instance, saying to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow You!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:28-31 I can not tell you how closely I have lived this verse! I am still on good terms with my blood family members, but I’m not in nearly as close contact as I used to be with them. But the loss I had with my blood family I have more than doubled in the sisters that I have gained in Christ! The Lord has completely surrounded me with more love from people that I now call family. Some of them I’ve never even met in person before, but yet there’s a tie, a bond there that you simply can’t see or explain other than, we have the same heavenly Father. It’s simply amazing!
Listen to “At Your Name” by Phil Wickham
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