Using the Name of Jesus – Br. Curtis Almquist

Acts 3:11-26

The apostles continued to do the miraculous work of Jesus, such as we hear in our lesson today from the Acts of the Apostles: the man, born lame, who has now been miraculously healed.  There is a touchstone that the apostles used to effect the healing: Jesus’ name.   So we read, the apostles had “faith in [Jesus’] name,” and “[Jesus’] name itself made the man strong.”  There is power in a name. 

In the scriptures, especially in the Psalms, there is a frequent reverencing of the Name of God.  In the Psalm appointed for today, Psalm 8, we hear, “O Lord our Governor, how exalted is your Name in all the world!”  In Psalm 31 we hear, “For the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.”  Psalm 145 begins: “I will exalt you, O God my King, and bless your Name for ever and ever.”  It’s a curious phrase – to bless God’s Name or to praise God’s Name or to petition God, for the sake of God’s Name.  How dare we have such intimate access to God as to lay claim on God’s Name?  So great and awesome was this God that God’s ways were unknowable, God’s power unpredictable, God’s distance unfathomable, God’s rage uncontrollable, God’s face unseeable, God’s hands untouchable, God’s Name, unspeakable.  And then we are given a name for God, a name we are invited to use: Jesus.  Jesus even tells us he has access to this God whom he calls abba, “papa.”  What’s so remarkable is the inverse is also true.  Jesus knows us by name.  He calls himself the Good Shepherd.”  He knows his sheep, and he calls them by name, that’s our own, personal name.1

Knowing someone’s name, and being know to someone by name is an intimate, powerful experience.  Having someone’s name, using someone’s name is a point of access, and – in the case of Jesus’ name – a channel of power.  We’ve been told as much by Jesus.  He invites us to claim and use his name.  Use Jesus’ name during those endless moments in life when you are waiting, or wondering, or worrying.  Use Jesus’ name when some need presents itself to you, where you find yourself powerless.  Use Jesus’ name.  You might even find it inviting to pray the ancient “Jesus Prayer” as you breathe:

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Living God:
Have mercy upon me.2

This is to take full advantage of the access, and intimacy, and power that having someone’s name gives us.  We have Jesus’ name.  Breathe the name of Jesus as you make your way through the day.  Breathe the name of Jesus for yourself and for others.  Jesus will live up to his name for you.  Breathe the name, use the name “Jesus,” because there is power and identification in claiming and using and sharing a name.  Go ahead and use it: the name of Jesus:  Jesus…  Jesus…  Jesus…..


1 John 10:1-3.


2 The Jesus Prayer, noted in The Way of the Pilgrim, dating from the 1850s in Irkutsk, Russia: “…The continuous interior Prayer of Jesus is a constant uninterrupted calling upon the divine Name of Jesus with the lips, in the spirit, in the heart; while forming a mental picture of his constant presence, and imploring his grace, during every occupation, at all times, in all places, even during sleep. The appeal is couched in these terms: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.’”


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  1. Anders on January 13, 2016 at 05:40

    Thank you. Since there is such power in a name, I prefer some of the originals over the cultural rebrandings of western religion. This includes Yahweh (the breath between breaths) over God (from Germanic word for good), and Yeshua (given Aramaic name) over Jesus (Greek equivalent as legit as English version which is Joshua).

  2. Paul on January 4, 2016 at 10:36

    Some 25 years ago my beloved brother Jack gave me the Way of the Pilgrim and I set out to use the Jesus Prayer a thousand times a day until it became part of the fiber of my being. Today, I sometimes take for granted the gift which was given to me that day. No longer. In addition, I have been praying almost daily for the holy man of God for whom I was named, and I am profoundly grateful for Brother Curtis’s reminder that Jesus knows and calls me by name. Come, Lord Jesus!

  3. Cathy Capers on January 1, 2016 at 13:40

    I so needed to read this today. I have been calling on Jesus in prayer and he has answered me. I continue to use his name without ceasing as I face some difficult days ahead. Thank you for this wonderful reminder that I can call Jesus by name and he knows me.

  4. Ruth West on January 1, 2016 at 12:55

    Thanks for this good homily.
    During my darkest times, when I lost a son, my husband, parents, and others close to me, my grief was such that I could not think how to pray. It was during those times that I simply uttered the name of Jesus. He was my closest companion, my friend, one who knew me, named me, and understood. Comfort and grace for the day He gave when I most needed it. Blessed be His name!

  5. Christopher Engle Barnhart on January 1, 2016 at 08:22

    As a child I did not like my name, Chris or Christopher, because I was the only one in school that had my name. I was not Jimmie, or Billy, or Tommie, I was Chris. But as I grew older, I learned to accept my name. I thank my mother for choosing to name me Christopher. It is a unique name that I have had to live upto all my life, sometimes with difficulty and hardship but it is me, who I am.

    • Margo on January 1, 2016 at 11:53

      How lucky can you be. Bearer of Christ. What an honor! Margo

  6. elizabeth wright on April 21, 2012 at 04:39

    Thank you for all you say about the powerful experience of knowing someone’s name and being known to someone by name. A few years ago an anesthesiologist told us that she makes sure to ask ahead of time not just for the patient’s name, the name written on their wristband, but how they are actually called. From experience she learned she needs that name when it comes time to bring them back.

  7. Rev Dr Bob Gallagher on April 14, 2012 at 03:24

    … in 71 years I have never read a more insightful and inciteful message. Terrific! I posted it on facebook. The last time I read anything approaching this profound message was DEATH ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON when (in the words of the RITE I APOSTLES CREED), Jesus DESCENDED INTO HELL where he met Judas and other suicide folks and redeemed them as well. I have been trying for decades to put my Christian experience into words and I finally met someone who said it. You and your messages have a knack for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Euge, euge, bone et fidele serve. Bob Gallagher

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