At the Name of Jesus

Luke 24:1-12

April 23, 2000 | Brian Bill

Have you ever stopped to think about what’s in a name?  I have three first names – Brian, John, and Bill – if you say my name, three guys come running!

What’s in a name?  A big fierce lion pounced on a monkey in the jungle and demanded, “Tell me the name of the king of the jungle!”  The frightened monkey said, “You are the king of the jungle, O Lion!”  So the lion let him go.  

The next animal the lion met was a zebra and he pounced on the zebra and demanded, “Tell me, zebra, what is the name of the king of the jungle?”  The zebra was terrified and said, “You are the king of the jungle, O Mighty lion!”  So the lion let him go.

The lion then came to an elephant and asked the same question.  The elephant grabbed the lion with his trunk and twirled him around like a dishtowel and threw him about 50 feet into the air.  The lion smacked his head on a tree and then said, “Alright, alright, just because you don’t know the answer you don’t have to get mad about it!”

We’ve just experienced an Easter treat this morning, haven’t we?  After hearing this cantata, there’s no doubt about the name that is above every other name.  We know the answer to the question about who is the greatest of all.

But perhaps you’re wondering what it all means.  What does the name of Jesus have to do with us?  What does Good Friday and Easter Sunday really mean?

Imagine with me a man who died and came face to face with the gates of heaven.  He was finely dressed and was sure he was going to be allowed entrance into God’s presence because of how he had lived.  He then found out that the only way to get into heaven was to have earned 1,000 points while he was alive.  The man says, “That shouldn’t be any problem.  I’ve been a good person.  I’ve been involved in civic causes and have given a lot of money to charity.”

St. Peter writes it all down and says, “That’s a marvelous record.  That’s one point.”  Taken aback, the man adds, “I was married to my wife for 45 years and have always been faithful.  I always spent a lot of time with my children and made sure they got a good education.  I was a real family man.”  St. Peter says, “I’m very impressed. We don’t get too many people up here like you.  That’s another point.”  

The man is now sweating and starts to shake.  “You don’t understand.  I was active in my church.  I went every Sunday I gave money every time they passed the plate.  I was a deacon and an elder.  I even sang in the choir.  I taught Sunday School for twenty years.”  To which St. Peter says, “Your record is certainly admirable.  That’s another point.  Let me add this up…only 997 to go.”

Trembling, the man falls to his knees.  In desperation he cries out, “But for the grace of God nobody could get in here!”  St. Peter looks at him and smiles and says, “Congratulations, you’ve just received 1,000 points.”

This imaginary encounter at the gates of heaven shows us that there is no way we can earn our way into heaven.  The only way to get in is through the grace of Jesus.  You see, we’ve all failed on our report card.  But Jesus has come to give us a fresh start by taking the exam for us.  He died in our place, as our substitute so that we can have access to God.

As you look at this cross, you’ll notice that is filled with nails.  During our Good Friday service, we took hammers and pounded our sins into the Cross.  It was very moving.  And now, because of the Resurrection, our sins are now gone.  God the Father has accepted the work of Jesus on our behalf and forgiven us our sins.  

A couple weeks ago, Newsweek did a complete cover story on who Jesus is.  Much of what was written is frankly not all that helpful or accurate.  But listen to the conclusion of the article: “The Cross is what separates the Christ of Christianity from every other Jesus.”

The Bible says in Philippians 2:10: “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Can you name the name of Jesus this Easter?  Is He your Savior?  Do you want Him to save you from your sins and give you eternal life?  You can know resurrection joy and power if you receive Him into your life right now.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?