Jesus only knows those who know his name.
Several years ago, I was listening to a sermon by Ethel Aderemi, when the Lord suddenly asked yet another of his enigmatic questions. “Femi,” he said, “what is the name of Jesus?”
I was dumbfounded. I asked myself: “Is Jesus not the name of Jesus?” What then could be the meaning of the Lord’s question?
The real name of Jesus
I soon discovered that the name of a person is usually not his name. The real name of a person is the very essence of that person. It is his character, personality and profile. I know a lady called Peace; but she is neither peaceful nor peace-loving. Her real name must be “trouble-maker.”
But in the bible, no one ever acted contrary to his or her name. If your name is “Thief,” then you are a thief. Abigail says of her husband: “As his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him” (1 Samuel 25:25). Jacob’s name means “one who supplants.” All his life, he acted according to that name until God changed it to Israel. He deceived Esau out of his birthright. He deceived his father and obtained his brother’s blessing.
So what is the name of the Lord? The name of the Lord is the very nature, character and personality of God. God revealed to Moses that his name is compassionate, gracious and slow to anger (Exodus 34:5-7). Likewise, the name of Jesus is the very personality of Jesus. It represents all that Jesus is. The name of Jesus is Saviour of souls. His name is Yehoshua; it is Saviour from sins. His name is wonderful, counselor; mighty God (Isaiah 9:6). It is love; merciful; goodness and holy.
Jesus says to believers: “I will do whatever you ask in my name” (John 14:13). Why then do we pray and get no answers? It must surely be because we don’t really pray in Jesus’ name. We simply attach his name to the end of our prayers and presume thereby that we have prayed in his name. But to really pray in Jesus’ name, we must have the character of Jesus. We must have his faith and his compassion.
That means we cannot tell lies and then pray in the name of Jesus. Neither can we be quarrelsome and pray in the name of Jesus. We cannot walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners and pray in the name of Jesus. To pray in Jesus’ name, we must walk in his name. To pray in his name, we must stand in the righteousness of God. The psalmist says: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18).
Jesus said to his disciples: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive” (John 16:24). This indicates that hitherto the disciples prayed according to their own wishes and desires. Thenceforth, they were to pray only according to the desires of Jesus.
Nevertheless, many of us still go to the bank of heaven with forged cheques. We attach the name of Jesus to requests he would never make. We fail to appreciate that praying in Jesus’ name is not “my will be done” but “God’s will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
Moreover, praying in Jesus’ name is not a formula. We don’t need to say “in Jesus’ name” with every prayer. If it is in his name, then it is in his name. If it is not, it is not. The fact that you put my name on a cheque does not mean you can get anything out of my bank account. The cashier can tell the signature is not mine. And if he contacts me, I will not confirm the cheque.
There are many counterfeiters of the name of Jesus. You will know us by our fruits. We are people who swear and lay down curses “in the name of Jesus.” We go to prayer-meetings and kill our enemies “in the name of Jesus.” We practice witchcraft “in the name of Jesus” and use his name to hold men in bondage.
We need to recognise that Jesus only knows those who know his name. When we deceive and tell lies “in Jesus’ name,” it shows we don’t know him. Jesus says: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you'” (Matthew 7:22-23).
Nobody gets introduced to Jesus in heaven. Make sure he knows you by name now, by walking in his name.