Been thinking about this for a bit finally thought to ask it here.
Jesus tells us to ask in His name and whatever it is will be granted. Avoiding all of the usual discussions about answered prayers…I am interested in a different aspect of this and would like some input.
In the ancient world…Jew, Gentile, whatever…What did it mean to invoke the name of another - especially the name of a teacher, lord, general or king?
I suspect that it had a greater gravity and significance in the ancient world than people today realize.
I suspect that invoking someone’s name like this would be to invoke their authority and your own status as their subject. To take the name of one in authority lightly or falsely, or without due recognition of the gravity of the act, could result in severe consequences - -
At least that is what I am thinking…
So when Jesus invites us to invoke His name in prayer there is much more involved than simply speaking the words.
It is my belief that this is what many miss when reading this passage or trying to understand prayer and petition.
The short answer is that to speak, ask, command, or anything else “in the name of Xxx” means that the speaker is acting with the same authority that Xxx has. So if Xxx is a king, and he has authorized you to speak “in his name,” then when you do, it is as if the King Xxx himself is speaking.
A name can mean control. Call out the name of a pet, and it comes. Say hello Jake, and it means more to Jake than just saying hello.
So it may mean that when we pray “in Jesus name”, that the Father cannot but be attentive to what is said because we are using his beloved Son’s name. It means we are a part of him and are asking in a more pleasing way.
Same way with references. If I go for an interview for a job and use someones name as a reference that the employer respects, then this means more and will be more favorable to me. Dropping the right names can do a lot. Behind a name is an image.
May God our Father give you grace and peace in Jesus’ name…
Your intincts are 100% correct. A name isn’t just an identification, it is the very essence of a thing. So when you pray in Jesus’ name that means you are praying according to who and what He is. If you are not praying for something according to who Christ is then you are not praying in His name. There is significance for us as well. Only God knows who we truly are and only He knows our true name and we will learn that name in the world to come.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. - Revelation 2:17
“And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Jn. 14:13
In My name, which is Christ Jesus. Christ signifies King, Jesus, Savior. Therefore whatever we ask for that would hinder our salvation, we do not ask in our Savior’s name; and yet He is our Savior, not only when He does what we ask, but also when He does not. When He sees us ask any thing to the disadvantage of our salvation, He shows Himself our Savior by not doing it.
In the name of Jesus miracles were done, by which men were made to believe the Apostles’ preaching. This brought them to the knowledge of the Father, and thus the Father was glorified in the Son.
Speaking in carpenter’s terms, you just hit the nail squarely on the head. This is exactly the reason for us to invoke the name of Jesus in prayer. Since He is God, it is much more significant and carries much more weight than invoking the name of any human being of authority.
The part that I bolded in your post, is also a very important point. This is where many people don’t always realize that they commit blasphemy whenever they use the name of Jesus in a frivolous manner. His name has immense power and must always be used with deep respect. When anyone uses His name in anger it’s an obvious act of blasphemy, but even when we might think we’re not being disrespectful, we still might be. Someone might say, “Jesus, please let my numbers come up in the lottery!”, not as a real petition to Him, but just as an off the cuff expression used in a flippant manner. This is also blasphemous. Even if we really pray for silly or vain things like that, we’re still being disrespectful of His name, and might also be treading on that fine line of committing blasphemy.
So, we really do need to be careful how we use His name, and what we really intend to pray for, whenever we invoke it. If we frequently use His name in a flippant manner, or really pray for silly things, then why should He listen to us when we’re really being sincere about serious issues in our lives? If we don’t always take Him seriously, He might not take us seriously, either. Just a thought.
I am curious whether in biblical times “in one’s name” or “in the name of” had a different meaning. Scripture scholars could perhaps enlighten us. Brief searches of CAF and the internet didn’t turn up anything different, but I thought a person’s name back then may have had a deeper significance. What do you think?
I think that it must have…consider how certain people are given different names in Scripture denoting some change…Simon to Kephas (Peter) being a biggie…I believe Abram became Abraham and I think there were others.
Just as another sort of “offshoot” on this…think of old movies where some soldier would bang on a door and say "open in the name of the King - - - Or a policeman shouts “open in the name of the law”.
Another example that might fit the conversation is when someone says, "go to (a certain place) and ask for (someone’s name) and mention my name. They will take good care of you. There is a lot of trust and honor and goodwill going on in that simple sentence.
The person speaking trusts the person he is sending you to
The person is honoring that person by sending you to them
You are trusting that this person is not steering you wrong.
The person you are sent to trusts the person who sends you
The one who sends and the one who receives you in his name trust that you will not abuse their trust…
Yup - a lot going on…
There is definitely something more to invoking someone’s name than simply speaking the words.
A name is a sacred thing. I would also point out that for the Jews the name of God was so holy that no one would speak it. The only time it was spoken was by the high priest once a year when he entered the holy of holies. That’s why at the end of the Gospel of John when Jesus names Himself God using the Divine Name the soldiers fall on their face.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.” He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground - John 18:3-6