“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17

The Greek word for “name” in the verse above is onoma, which means “name, character, reputation, authority.” According to Hebrew tradition, a person’s name is inseparable from the person to whom is belongs: thus, a name contains something of the essence of its owner. This is partially why the revelation of the name of Jehovah (Jesus Christ) in the New Testament is so momentous, and also why this command in Colossians is weightier than it first appears.

Paul was not instructing the congregation in the book of Colossians, and us by extension, to merely evoke the name of Jesus every time they spoke or took action.

Rather, he is encouraging us to act and speak in the authority and character of Jesus Christ; or, in other words, to act and speak as the body of Christ.

This begs an important question: How can we expect to put our “old man” aside and assume the very nature and authority of Jesus Christ unless we know Jesus  a personal level?

Who is Jesus Christ? He is the image, of God Himself (II Corinthians 4:4, Matthew 27:54, I Timothy 3:16). While Jesus walked on this earth, there were those who did not receive Him (see John 5:43), yet His entire ministry was to reveal the nature of God to humanity (see 2 Corinthians 4:6-7).

If we are not receiving Jesus in our lives, then who are we receiving? Once we embrace the Word of God and build a relationship with Him, then we will be able to effectively “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” because we will have an understanding of who He is and what it means to take on His authority and character.

Questions to consider:

  • How can we apply Jesus’ characteristic unconditional love for humanity to our own lives?
  • Thinking about the story in Mark 5:1-20, how can we apply the authority of the name of Jesus to situations in our lives that seem impossible?

Angela Overton is a lover of words, nature, and coffee. She is an ordained minister with the UPCI, has a Masters Degree in Theology, and loves to teach Bible studies. She and her amazing husband, Michael, pastor in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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