Editor’s Note: Pastor Roger Barrier’s “Ask Roger” column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John 14:13-14: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Some misapply this verse, thinking that “in Jesus’ name” is much like a magic formula. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Praying in Jesus’ name means praying with His authority and asking God the Father to act upon our prayers because we come in the name of His Son, Jesus. Praying in Jesus’ name means praying in line with the will of God (1 John 5:14-15).
Praying and meditating through the names of Jesus enhance worship, promote spiritual growth, and deepen our intimacy with Jesus.
There are some 200 names and titles of Christ found in the Bible. I selected some of the more prominent ones as examples of how we may deepen our understanding and relationship with Jesus.
When you are reading the Bible and come across one of Jesus’ names, pause for a moment and draw a mental image of Jesus enhancing that particular name. Then, personally interact with that name and be blessed.
Jesus: (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11; John 6:35; 6:48)
Picture yourself carrying a huge bag of sins. You’re stumbling, falling, thirsting, and growing weaker by the moment. Sin is mercilessly driving you down into the dirt. Then, Jesus approaches out of nowhere. Imagine him putting his arms around you and loving you. “If you’d like,” he says, “I’ll carry that big bag for you.” The relief is incredible. Sins are gone and a new life begins.
Thank you, Jesus, for forgiving my sins and sacrificing your life on the cross for me.
Bread: (Luke 4:8; John 6:35, 48)
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never grow hungry.”’
He’s preached all day. It’s getting late. Imagine 5,000 hungry people with nothing to eat. Jesus says to his disciples, “Feed them.” Peter says, “But, there’s no grocery store in sight!”
Andrew brings him five small pieces of bread and two small fish.
Now watch carefully. Jesus rubs his hands together and a piece of bread appears. He rubs his hands again and more bread appears. Who planted the seeds? No one. Who watered the crops? Who harvested the grain? Who pounded out the flour? Who heated the oven? No one.
How about the fish? Who caught the fish? No one. They were never caught. Who brought charcoal? No one. Jesus was creating a Galilean delicacy. These fish were about 5 inches long with a pickle-type relish for moisture. He’s not just creating fish. He’s making pickles!
As bread sustains life in the flesh, Jesus is the Bread that sustains life in the spirit.
Jesus, I’m hungry. Feed me. Ask Savior bread of life. Amen.
King of kings and Lord of lords: (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16)
Imagine Jesus sitting on a throne surrounded by a host of people from all around the world. All are kneeling in submission to Jesus Christ. You kneel and declare with them: “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father.” Then, suddenly, Jesus is standing right with you. You exclaim: “I’ll never turn back, wherever you lead I’ll go.”
Lord, make me a spiritual father or mother; I don’t care what it costs.
Light of the World: (John 8:12)
You enter Carlsbad caverns with your tour guide. Floodlights reveal multicolored stalactites and stalagmites hanging from the ceiling and growing from the ground. Drip, drip goes the water. “Do you want to see dark like you’ve never seen it before?” He turns off his flashlight. It’s so dark you can taste it.” He turns on his flashlight. Instinctively, you turn toward the light.
It’s a dark world out there. Think about how he brought you into the light. Did it happen in a moment of decisive commitment? Or was your salvation a process that occurred over time?
Some are still in darkness. Paul says that Satan has blinded the eyes of unbelievers so that they cannot see the glorious light.
Think of a friend or two who need Jesus. Pray that the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of your friends so they can see the light.
Thanks for bringing my friends and me into the Light.
The Word of God: (John 1:1-4; 1 John 5:7-8)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things were made; and without him nothing was made that has been made.”
The Greek word, “logos,” is translated in English as, “word.” The “logos” is a Greek philosophical term referring to the “unrevealed wisdom of God.” Jesus is the word of God. John tells us that at a point in time, the unrevealed wisdom of God put on a body so he could dwell with us.”
John also tells us that at a point before time Jesus created the universe. Pictured Jesus standing on the edge of nothingness and tossing 100 billion stars into existence. In addition, 1,000 billion planets now populate the universe.
Lord, I praise you because with all the things you have going on today in the universe, you have time for me.
Good Shepherd: (John 10:11,14)
In Bible times, a good shepherd was willing to risk his own life to protect his sheep from predators. Jesus laid down His life for His sheep, and He cares for and nurtures and feeds us.
“The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” David imagined himself to be a sheep looking up at his shepherd. Think of yourself as a little lamb looking up at your shepherd. He’s looking down at you with such love and compassion. Sheep need to be led, not driven. Think of Jesus the last time he took you through the valley of the shadow of death and all was well. Imagine yourself being secure in the arms of Jesus.
But there’s more to your shepherd. Revelation shows us Jesus as a bleeding lamb slain on the altar for our sin.
The Lord is my shepherd he’s all I want.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
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