Posted by: rcottrill | March 18, 2011

Take the Name of Jesus with You

Words: Lydia Odell Baxter (b. Sept. 8, 1809; d. June 22, 1874)
Music: William Howard Doane (b. Feb. 3, 1832; d. Dec. 23, 1915)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The first line of this hymn is usually used as the title. But the older name for it (that I like), is Precious Name. The precise the date of Mrs. Baxter’s birth seems uncertain. The year was 1809, and the month was September, but various sources give the day as the 2nd, 8th, or 9th.

This beautiful hymn is one of my (many!) favourites. “Jesus” is actually quite a popular name for boys among Spanish-speaking people ( who pronounce it Hay-soos). And each child may well be precious to his family. But only one Jesus is precious to believers the world over, the Lord Jesus Christ. “To you who believe, He is precious,” says Peter (I Pet. 2:7)–meaning highly valued, One to be revered and honoured. And why is He so precious to us? First, because of what He is, in Himself. As God the Son, He is worthy of all reverence and worship. And then for what He has done for the saints, in saving us, and keeping us, and providing a glorious and eternal future for us.

Not all have honoured the name of the Lord of course. Pharaoh of old said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?…I do not know the Lord” (Exod. 2). And those who hated the Lord Jesus gathered at Calvary to mock Him, crying with a sneer, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe” (Mk. 15:31-32). Later, the followers of Christ in the early church were commanded “not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). But, praise the Lord, they boldly continued to do so.

The name “Jesus” means, literally, Jehovah [is] salvation. Thus, He is God who is our salvation. Before His virgin birth, Joseph was told that Jesus would be “God with us” (Matt. 1:23), and that He was to be called Jesus because “He will save His people from their sins” (vs. 21). The name Jesus is used of Him about 940 times in the New Testament. He is also called “the Lord,” emphasizing His deity (e.g. Mk. 16:19; Lk. 7:13), and often the two names are used in combination; He is the Lord Jesus (e.g. Acts 7:59; 9:17; 8:16; 19:5, 17; Heb. 13:20). Another common multiple makes use of the term “Christ,” meaning Messiah. He is Jesus Christ (Matt. 10:36; 16:18), and 82 times the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g. II Jn. 1:3; Rev. 22:21).

The Scriptures teach that the names and titles of Christ are closely associated with who He is. His names represent His Person, His nature, His holy character, and His divine authority. So, when Paul (then called Saul) speaks of persecuting Christians, and doing “many things contrary to the name of Jesus” (Acts 26:9), he means things against His Person. And when Peter says, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), he means no other Person. To “take the name of Jesus” with us, and commit ourselves to that name, as Lydia Baxter means it, is to fellowship with Him, to obey Him, and put our trust in Him.

For those who are discouraged or sorrowing, Jesus brings joy and comfort (CH-1). And when we are faced with temptation, He can provide “a shield from every snare” (CH-2). He is a compassionate Friend, and a thrilling subject of our praise (CH-3). Finally, we have the prospect of eternal worship at His feet in the heavenly kingdom (CH-4).

In the latter regard, I’ve often been struck by a particular phrase in the refrain. The Lord Jesus is our “hope of earth and joy of heav’n.” Meditate on that for awhile. Hope may be defined as: the joyful certainty of future blessing. Christians have a living relationship with the “God of hope” (Rom. 15:13), and with “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (I Tim. 1:1). He is within us “the hope of glory” to come (Col. 1:27), and His return is our “blessed hope (Tit. 2:13). He is our hope now, and we look forward to rejoicing in His presence very soon (I Pet. 4:13; Jude 1:24; Rev. 19:7).

Questions:
1) All too many individuals use the “precious name” of Jesus as a swear word. What does it tell us about their attitude toward Christ? What does it tell us about them personally?

2) What will help us to value the name of Jesus more than we do now?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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