What’s in a Name?
If you want to see an example of what faith in Jesus’ Name can do, look at the crippled beggar in Acts 3. He had been born lame. He’d never walked a day in his life. He had to be carried to the Temple gate so he could beg for money. Naturally speaking, his situation was impossible, incurable and totally hopeless.
But when the Apostle Peter said to him, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk,” the power of God shot through that man’s bones and instantly made him whole.
Of course, the people who saw it happen tried to give Peter the credit just like people do today. They thought he had some special healing powers because he was an apostle. But Peter set them straight. He said, “Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus…. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong” (verses 12-13, 16).
“Well, I just don’t understand how somebody’s name could do that,” you might say.
That’s because in our Western culture a name doesn’t mean much. It’s just some cute-sounding word our mother picked out so she could call us to dinner without having to say, “Hey, you!”
In other cultures, however, particularly in biblical cultures, names are crucial. A person’s name can direct the course of his life. That’s why God changed Abram’s name to Abraham when He promised him a child. Abraham means “father of many nations.” So, after his name change, every time someone called Abraham, he heard himself identified as the father of many nations. Every time he introduced himself, he declared he was the father of many nations.
Before long, Abraham had developed faith in the name God had given him and, sure enough, that once-childless, very old man became not only the father of Isaac but the father of many nations