Rooted in Christ

“Jesus” - Curse, Character, or Christ”

At the name of Jesus

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phil. 2:10, NKJV)

“Jesus.” Say it aloud. How does it strike you? Perhaps you hear it as an expletive, the most incongruous of profanities. It’s hard to read novels or watch television nowadays without hearing the name of Jesus invoked as a curse word. Ironically, it is the language of rebellion against God.

Perhaps the word Jesus hits you matter-of-factly. It’s something you expect to hear by way of religious reference. It belongs in the formulaic prayer that has just been read. In this case Jesus actually refers to the historical figure of religious prominence. This Jesus might even distinguish your belief system from others who revere or adhere to different spiritual leaders.

It may be, though, that the word Jesus has an entirely different impact on you. When you hear that name used as an expletive you cringe. You can endure other words used as profanities, those four-letter words that fit the part. But not Jesus, not your Lord and your God.

Perhaps when you hear the name Jesus you study the user’s face looking for a flicker of recognition, a glimmer of affection. They know the name “Jesus,” but do they know Jesus? Or is the name being used idly, perhaps even as idolatry.

Maybe use of the name Jesus can chart the journey of your life. You remember when you invoked the name to sound tough, to make your speech more hard core the way profanity is supposed to. As one professional football player put it when he hears profanity-laced speech: “Oh, okay, he means it.”

Perhaps in your more reflective times you used the name to refer to Jesus of biblical fame, Jesus of the pantheon of religious influencers throughout history. The one who would champion your ethical stand or political cause, or identify your religious ilk.

But then something happened. At the name of Jesus your heart became strangely warmed. The name Jesus evoked love deep within your being. Like Lazarus heard the voice of Jesus calling his name from outside the entrance to his tomb, you heard the voice of Jesus calling you, by name, to Himself. Like Lazarus you heard the voice of Jesus not just because the stone was rolled away but because you were given ears to hear. Spiritual life attuned to the Author of life. You recognized His voice. And you listened. And you followed.

Suddenly, the name Jesus meant everything to you. From the darkness of sin and unbelief, you came to Him as the light of life, the Christ of God. The Savior. Your Savior. The Lord. Your Lord. Though you do not see Him now with your physical eyes, you see Him through the eyes of faith, and you love Him who first loved you.

Hearing that name profaned now cuts you to core. It’s as fingernails on a chalkboard. Hearing that name used without recognition stirs in you a longing of love that they might know the Jesus of whom they speak. You pray and ponder how can you be used to introduce them to Jesus.

But it’s not just about others. You want to know Jesus better, more intimately, more necessarily, more expectantly. You know Him but you want to grow in the knowledge of Jesus.

Digging Deeper

  1. What impact does the name “Jesus” have on you?
  2. How can you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus?     

Father, grant me according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with might through Your Spirit in my inner being that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith; that I, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that I may be filled with all the fullness of God. 

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Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved. Those marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale