When I was a child, I spoke as a child…
How do we address Jesus? What do we call him most often? Do we visualize him as we speak to him in prayer? or do we speak directly to God and by pass Jesus only using his name to endorse our prayers?
When I was child, I was always taught that we must end a prayer with “In Jesus Name” otherwise God would not hear or bless my prayers. And I still believe we should pray in Jesus Name.
However, I have begun to think about how he has so many names that how can anyone decide which one is best? I wondered: Why do the writers of the Bible give him over 350 names? We know him as:
The Good Shepherd
The Alpha and the Omega
The King of Kings
The Lamb of God
These names are just a few.
I wonder: which title do you find the most appealing and which do you find the most enigmatic?
I have decided to write a series of blogs meditating on a few of Jesus names and pairing them to paintings. As always, I will seek out paintings that are in the public domain and list the source in the caption for your reference and use. I must state from the beginning that I don’t believe that these images are necessarily the way Jesus looked and there are many artists of today that paint him with more diversity, but to find images in the public domain, one is limited to representations of Jesus from the years before the 1930s.
There are many wonderful resources out there for a study of Jesus’ names and I certainly will be using a couple as my guide, but I hope these meditations will profit us in a new way that is yet unknown to me.
That being said, I hope you will join me as I explore “In Jesus Name.”
This image of Jesus was new to me, and one I find very attractive.
James Tissot was a French artist who during his lifetime painted over 80 images on the Life of Christ. He was a Catholic artist who created his realistic style during a time when artists like Monet and Degas were moving away from realism in favor of capturing the feeling of the atmosphere in a single moment. These impressionist artists would do this through a study of the effect of light on a subject.
You can see here that Tissot is also fascinated with capturing the effects of light as he has dramatically backlit Jesus with the crescent moon and stars illuminating his white robes. Tissot noticed that Jesus frequently removed himself from others to find a “lofty spot” to pray. Perhaps he wanted to be nearer his heavenly Father or maybe he wanted to remind himself of God’s grandeur. Either way it makes for a terrific pose.
But which name of Jesus would best suit this image? The Alpha and Omega? The Bridegroom? My Lord and Savior? Perhaps, but my pick and the one we really should start with is “Son of God.”
Son of God
I know you have heard it maybe all your life, but pause…
Let it really sink in.
Close your eyes and let is wash over you.
Jesus was and is the Son of God.
Imagine yourself as the virgin Mary hearing the good news:
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy-the Son of God. ~ Luke 1:35
Then surround the scene of Jesus’ baptism and hear a voice from heaven say:
“You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” ~ Mark 1: 11
Next, climb the mountain with the disciples to witness:
“[Jesus]…led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light…While he was still speaking, a bright cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!'” ~ Matthew 17: 1, 5
And finally stand at the foot of the cross…slow down…and really imagine feeling the impact of Jesus’ death:
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life…When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!'” ~ Matthew 27: 51-54
I hope you will continue to join me as I explore “In Jesus Name”
Peace be with you.