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
Oh my goodness. Great question: “How much of my Father’s character do others see in me?”
The answer, for me, is painful.
Thanks for the stunning insight. Blessings. God is with you.
Good for evaluating oneself. Thanks, Michael. I appreciate your comments.
Good point to think of name as character: “The name itself was not so important as who it represented. “
I think a rather new take away for me was that bit about how the Prodigal probably thought “who he was” mattered. Not once he sold out! At that point his companions only held distain for him. Thank you.
Great and reflective post. THANK YOU!
I am grateful indeed that God the Holy Spirit ever lives to point us, lead guide us, and transform us into the image of God’s SON. Only as we are being sanctified will we ever have the authority to do in HIS NAME, ie ,Christ’s, the task He alone leads us to on this earth. (I passionately believe unless we fully come to an understanding of the fullness of the SPIRIT) we will struggle in this societal driven world. The WORD continues with the Wisdom of the Spirit to be ou greatest leader and teacher. Thank God the prodigal came back to his senses!
Wouldn’t we like to be the “instrument” that points sinners (prodigals) to the cross? In the name of the Father?
Good post. I still think Harry should have brought Him over to the ranch before he went on vacation to familiarize him to the employees and give him a better idea about what was going on.
Good point. We will have to suggest that to the Father. After all that is what He did with Jesus. Thinking Christmas. Meanwhile I guess I just need to clean up my act and “look” a little more like him. Smilin’ at you. You a fun to chat with.
Good plan. Definitely fun to chat.