On whose name did first century Christians focus?
As I was leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses, I did a word search in the New World Translation with “Jesus” and “name”. Below are some of the results arranged by subject. This study showed me more than anything else that it was the name of Jesus that was given priority by Christians in the first century and that it should be given the same priority today.
Faith in the name of Jesus
John 1:12 – However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.
John 2:23 – However, when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, at its festival, many people put their faith in his name viewing his signs that he was performing.
John 3:16 – “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent forth his Son into the world, not for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him. 18 He that exercises faith in him is not to be judged. He that does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
Acts 3:14 – Yes, YOU disowned that holy and righteous one, and YOU asked for a man, a murderer, to be freely granted to YOU, 15 whereas YOU killed the Chief Agent of life. But God raised him up from the dead, of which fact we are witnesses. 16 Consequently his name, by [our] faith in his name has made this man strong whom YOU behold and know, and the faith that is through him has given the man this complete soundness in the sight of all of YOU.
1 John 3:22 – Indeed, this is his commandment, that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and be loving one another, just as he gave us commandment.
1 John 5:13 – I write YOU these things that YOU may know that YOU have life everlasting, YOU who put YOUR faith in the name of the Son of God.
Baptized in the name of Jesus
Acts 2:37 – Peter [said] to them: “Repent, and let each one of YOU be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of YOUR sins, and YOU will receive the free gift of the holy spirit.
Acts 8:16 – For it had not yet fallen upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 10:46 – Then Peter responded: 47 “Can anyone forbid water so that these might not be baptized who have received the holy spirit even as we have?” 48 With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they requested him to remain for some days.
Acts 19:4 – Paul said: “John baptized with the baptism [in symbol] of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Jesus followers are objects of hatred on account of His name
Matthew 10:22 – And YOU will be objects of hatred by all people on account of my name; but he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.
Matthew 24:9 – “Then people will deliver YOU up to tribulation and will kill YOU, and YOU will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name. 10 Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another.
Mark 13:12 – Furthermore, brother will deliver brother over to death, and a father a child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death; 13 and YOU will be objects of hatred by all people on account of my name.. But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.
Luke 21:12 – “But before all these things people will lay their hands upon YOU and persecute YOU, delivering YOU up to the synagogues and prisons, YOU being haled before kings and governors for the sake of my name.
Luke 21:16 – Moreover, YOU will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of YOU to death; 17 and YOU will be objects of hatred by all people because of my name.
1 Peter 4:14 – If YOU are being reproached for the name of Christ, YOU are happy, because the [spirit] of glory, even the spirit of God, is resting upon YOU.
Whoever receives a young child on the basis of Jesus’ name receives Him also
Matthew 18:4 – Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one that is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens; 5 and whoever receives one such young child on the basis of my name receives me [also]. 6 But whoever stumbles one of these little ones who put faith in me, it is more beneficial for him to have hung around his neck a millstone such as is turned by an ass and to be sunk in the wide, open sea.
Mark 9:37 – “Whoever receives one of such young children on the basis of my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives, not me only, but also him that sent me forth.”
Luke 9:48 – and said to them: “Whoever receives this young child on the basis of my name receives me [too], and whoever receives me receives him [also] that sent me forth. For he that conducts himself as a lesser one among all of YOU is the one that is great.”
Demons expelled by use of Jesus’ name
Mark 9:38 – John said to him: “Teacher, we saw a certain man expelling demons by the use of your name and we tried to prevent him, because he was not accompanying us.” 39 But Jesus said: “Do not try to prevent him, for there is no one that will do a powerful work on the basis of my name that will quickly be able to revile me; 40 for he that is not against us is for us.
Luke 9:49 – In response John said: “Instructor, we saw a certain man expelling demons by the use of your name and we tried to prevent him, because he is not following with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him: “Do not YOU men try to prevent [him], for he that is not against YOU is for YOU.”
Luke 10:17 – Then the seventy returned with joy, saying: “Lord, even the demons are made subject to us by the use of your name.”
Matthew 18:20 – For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”
Matthew 19:28 – And everyone that has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive many times more and will inherit everlasting life.
John 14:13 – Also, whatever it is that YOU ask in my name, I will do this, in order that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son. 14 If YOU ask anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:26 – But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach YOU all things and bring back to YOUR minds all the things I told YOU.
John 15:15 – YOU did not choose me, but I chose YOU, and I appointed YOU to go on and keep bearing fruit and that YOUR fruit should remain; in order that no matter what YOU ask the Father in my name he might give it to YOU.
John 20:30 – To be sure, Jesus performed many other signs also before the disciples, which are not written down in this scroll. 31 But these have been written down that YOU may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that, because of believing, YOU may have life by means of his name.
Acts 3:6 – However, Peter said: “Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene’, walk!”
Acts 4:5 – The next day there took place in Jerusalem the gathering together of their rulers and older men and scribes 6 (also An’nas the chief priest and Ca’iaphas and John and Alexander and as many as were of the chief priest’s kinsfolk), 7 and they stood them in their midst and began to inquire: “By what power or in whose name did YOU do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with holy spirit, said to them:
“Rulers of the people and older men, 9 if we are this day being examined, on the basis of a good deed to an ailing man, as to by whom this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of YOU and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene’, whom YOU impaled but whom God raised up from the dead, by this one does this man stand here sound in front of YOU.
Acts 4:11 – Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”
Acts 4:18 – With that they called them and charged them, nowhere to make any utterance or to teach upon the basis of the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:29 – And now, Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and portents occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 5:39 – At this they gave heed to him, and they summoned the apostles, flogged them, and ordered them to stop speaking upon the basis of Jesus’ name, and let them go. 41 These, therefore, went their way from before the San’hedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name. 42 And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.
Acts 8:12 – But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women.
Acts 9:13 – But Anani’as answered: “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how many injurious things he did to your holy ones in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to put in bonds all those calling upon your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him: “Be on your way, because this man is a chosen vessel to me to bear my name to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel. 16 For I shall show him plainly how many things he must suffer for my name.”
Acts 9:26 – On arriving in Jerusalem he made efforts to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a disciple. 27 So Bar’nabas came to his aid and led him to the apostles, and he told them in detail how on the road he had seen the Lord and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 And he continued with them, walking in and out at Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord; 29 and he was talking and disputing with the Greek-speaking Jews. But these made attempts to do away with him. 30 When the brothers detected this, they brought him down to Caesare’a and sent him off to Tarsus.
Acts 10:43- To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone putting faith in him gets forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Acts 15:24 – Since we have heard that some from among us have caused YOU trouble with speeches, trying to subvert YOUR souls, although we did not give them any instructions, 25 we have come to a unanimous accord and have favored choosing men to send to YOU together with our loved ones, Bar’nabas and Paul, 26 men that have delivered up their souls for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 19:11 – And God kept performing extraordinary works of power through the hands of Paul, 12 so that even cloths and aprons were borne from his body to the ailing people, and the diseases left them, and the wicked spirits came out. 13 But certain ones of the roving Jews who practiced the casting out of demons also undertook to name the name of the Lord Jesus over those having the wicked spirits, saying: “I solemnly charge YOU by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
Acts 21:12 – Then Paul answered: “What are YOU doing by weeping and making me weak at heart? Rest assured, I am ready not only to be bound but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Acts 26:8 – “Why is it judged unbelievable among YOU men that God raises up the dead? 9 I, for one, really thought within myself I ought to commit many acts of opposition against the name of Jesus the Nazarene‘; 10 which, in fact, I did in Jerusalem, and many of the holy ones I locked up in prisons, as I had received authority from the chief priests; and when they were to be executed, I cast my vote against them.
1 Corinthians 1:1 – Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through God’s will, and Sos’thenes our brother 2 to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to YOU who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all who everywhere are calling upon the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
1 Corinthians 1:10 – Now I exhort YOU, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that YOU should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among YOU, but that YOU may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.
Philippians 2:8 – For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every [other] name, 10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, 11 and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 3:17 – And whatever it is that YOU do in word or in work, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, thanking God the Father through him.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 – To that very end indeed we always pray for YOU, that our God may count YOU worthy of [his] calling and perform completely all he pleases of goodness and the work of faith with power; 12 in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in YOU, and YOU in union with him, in accord with the undeserved kindness of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Contrast that with this paragraph from page 36 of the Watchtower Society’s book “Revelation – Its Grand Climax at Hand!”, page 36:
In the songbook produced by Jehovah’s people in 1905, there were twice as many songs praising Jesus as there were songs praising Jehovah God. In their 1928 songbook, the number of songs extolling Jesus was about the same as the number extolling Jehovah. But in the latest songbook of 1984, Jehovah is honored by four times as many songs as is Jesus. This is in harmony with Jesus’ own words: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28) Love for Jehovah must be preeminent, accompanied by deep love for Jesus and appreciation of his precious sacrifice and office as God’s High Priest and King. – Revelation – Its Grand Climax at Hand, page 36
That is quite a change from this old Watchtower hymn The Name of Jesus
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.
Dear name! the rock on which we build,
Our shield and hiding place;
Our neverfailing treasure, filled
With boundless stores of grace!
Jesus, our Shepherd, Saviour, Friend,
Our Prophet, Priest, and King,
Our hearts in gratitude ascend;
Accept the praise we bring.
We would thy boundless love proclaim
With ev’ry fleeting breath;
And sound the music of thy name
Abroad through all the earth.
Hymns of the Dawn (1902)
Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society