The Power of Names

“And Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.’ Then he arose immediately.”Acts 9:34 (NKJV)

In the famous play, Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare ponders the significance of names when Juliet muses, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The question reveals the predicament the two “star-crossed lovers” faced, given that their families, the Capulets and the Montagues, were sworn enemies. In other words, Juliet knows she’ll never be able to marry Romeo and take his last name, and as such, doubts the weight of words.

While Shakespeare was a brilliant playwright, the Bible tells a much different story about the importance and potency of names. In Dr. Tony Evan’s book, The Power of God’s Names, he notes that in Old Testament times, a name was more than simply nomenclature; rather, it revealed important information about the individual or thing itself. Dr. Evans writes:

“In Scripture, a name often connotes purpose, authority, makeup, and character. In fact, a person’s name is frequently seen as an equivalent of that person. Together, ‘name’ appears more than 1,000 times in Scripture and routinely carries with it the idea of power, responsibility, purpose, and authority. A name not only expresses the essence and significance of what is being named but also, when duly authorized, accesses the quality it conveys.”

When viewed in biblical context, it’s clear that God places great value on names, and no name is greater than that of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12), as today’s verse illustrates. The apostle Peter understood that only the name of Jesus possesses the power and authority to heal the sick. In fact, one of God’s many compound names, Jehovah Rapha, means “the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26), and it reveals not only His ability to cure sickness and disease, but also a vital part of His character as our healer.

Therefore, as a follower of Christ, Peter was able to rightfully exercise his God-given authority to invoke the name of Jesus and, by extension, its power to perform miracles. Did you know we have the same authority in Christ today? (See Matthew 18:18-20, Luke 9:1, and John 14:12-14.) It’s a sobering realization, and one we should not take lightly, because we are commanded not to use the Lord’s name in vain—that is, out of step with His will. Nevertheless, remember that no matter what you face in life, there is one name that is higher and stronger than all else: Jesus! 

DIG: Conduct a brief study on God’s many names and their meanings.

DISCOVER: What does each one reveal to you about His character?

DISPLAY: As you pray in Jesus’ name and authority, be confident that whatever you ask for, He will answer (John 14:13)!

About the Author

Rob Nieminen

Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.