According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “name” can mean authority or character. Cruden’s Concordance explains further, “Name is frequently used to designate the entire person, his individuality and his power. This is usually the case when the reference is to God.” Consider the authority in God’s name by contrasting the two sons in the following stories.
Story #1. Jim Jackson was the son of Harry Jackson, a well-respected long time resident in the ranch country of Springland. He was an adult and did not live under his father’s roof, but while Jim’s father was away, he called Jim to go to the ranch and give instructions to the farm hands. When Jim stepped into the bunkhouse and said, “I am the son of Harry Jackson and he has sent me with this message . . .,” there was no argument because they could see the image, hear the voice, and recognize the mannerisms of the father in the son. Since they could see the character of the father, they submitted to his authority just as they would have submitted to Harry. If he had not shown his father’s character, possibly they would not have obeyed on the basis of the name alone. The name itself was not so important as who it represented. And they believed in his authority because they could see the father in the son.
Story #2. “Just give me my money, Dad, and let me go.” So were the words of the Prodigal in the well-known parable Jesus told in the 15th chapter of Luke. So the Prodigal goes, carrying his money. (And it is quite likely that he thought he would be able to cut a few deals in the name of his father.) On the surface, he might have looked like his father, but he had neither his father’s character nor his authority. How the father suffered as he watched his rebellious son leave with so few resources at his command. Perhaps the father spoke to him as Jesus would have, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). The Prodigal may have sneered at the words which John later recorded, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). According to the story, the money was soon gone. And he found that since he was in a far country, the luck of his birth was no profit to him. The father’s good name gave him neither character nor authority. It may be that in that country the socially elite as well as the social dregs scoffed at the name of his father; in fact, they may have said, “So, who is he? We haven’t seen the father, but we have seen the son. With offspring like you he must not amount to much.”
Question to myself. How much of my Father’s character do others see in me? Is it enough that I can speak with his authority? Is my Father pleased that I represent Him?
Jesus revealed his Father’s name. “I have manifested thy name, . . .” said Jesus (Jn. 17:6), and he further stated in verse 26, “I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Image: Dominika Roseclay, Pexels.com