For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
– Philippians 2:9-11 NASB
This New Testament passage is taken from the apostle Paul’s letter to the believers in the city of Philippi (northern Greece). The all caps phrase is Paul quoting the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. We focused on another part of Philippians in our very first post in this daily series: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Philippians 2:9-11 goes a long way toward explaining why the name of Jesus is so polarizing. By the way, can you think of any other name as polarizing as His? Consider all the names you could bring up in your next dinner party conversation: Napoleon, Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Muhammad, Buddha, or any contemporary leader or celebrity. Then think about bringing up the name of Jesus. Of all those names, which is going to generate the most divergent responses – or even awkward silence? Jesus, of course.
Before I loved the name of Jesus, I hated it. Oh, I never admitted this – not even to myself. But I really did feel a little sick whenever His name came up because I knew it was going to mean a conversation I wanted to avoid. I didn’t want to hear about “the name which is above every name.” Something was telling me that my personal autonomy was at risk.
Some people sidestep the implicit demands made on them by the importance of Jesus’ name by simply co-opting His name for their own agenda. This maneuver is practiced by a broad spectrum of people – from pastors to atheists, and lots of people in between. All it requires is paying lip service to Jesus’ name while re-interpreting or ignoring the things He said in the Bible. That’s taking His name in vain. If He is “Lord,” we ought to be doing what He says.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus Christ, how glad I am to know Your name! Help me to fully realize what it means that Your name is above all other names…including mine. When I pray “Hallowed be Thy name,” help me truly understand what I’m supposed to be thinking…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.