The following is an excerpt from chapter five of my book:
Lift Him Up don’t Pull Him Down – The eternal importance of never momentarily taking our Lord’s name in vain.
Our holy God’s son is God’s Word in the flesh. Jesus came to us to demonstrate God’s Word through His love for us. His was baptized around the age of thirty, and His ministry lasted approximately three years. In that short span of time, Jesus selected a devoted group of twelve disciples. They gave up all they had, in order to follow and learn from Him.
During Jesus’ ministry the twelve traveled with Him. Jesus also sent the disciples out on their own; both before and after His resurrection. These men became apostles when they helped organize Christ’s church and proclaimed His resurrection by teaching others throughout the nations how to be disciples of Christ. The Name gave the disciples power to: drive out demons, cure diseases, heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.
When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, He opened their minds so they would understand The Word and how the Old Testament proclaimed His coming. Notice how the following verses spoken from Jesus and recorded in the book of Luke, proclaim “will be preached in His name” as a demonstration of the power of the name Jesus.
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-47 [emphasis added]
Jesus was instructing His disciples that now, because of His crucifixion and His resurrection, repentance and forgiveness of sins come through belief in Him. His almighty and glorious name is defined as salvation.
Preaching this message was not an easy life for the disciples. Like salmon swimming up stream, it required exhausting effort on their part. But these men were bold in their belief. Bold to the point of death. Of the chosen twelve, the first to die was the one who lead the armed crowd to arrest Jesus at Gethsemane, the place where he knew Jesus would be found. This betrayer felt remorse for his sin against The Name, as recorded in Matthew 27:3-4. After he saw that Jesus was condemned, this man committed suicide.
After His resurrection, Jesus miraculously appeared before the remaining eleven disciples many times. And the disciples made it their life’s work to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus to all the world. Perhaps to erase any thoughts of the disciples that they were looking at a ghost; at one time Jesus asked them for something to eat. Luke 24:41-43 states the disciples gave Jesus a piece of broiled fish and He ate it in their presence. Especially after they witnessed their risen Lord eat and realized His presence as their crucified Savior, nothing could force them to deny the gifts of Jesus.
The disciples closely experienced life events with Jesus. They understood Him as the Son of God, and used the remainder of their lives to tell others about the Gospel. Not the threat of being fatally beaten, crucified on a cross, beheaded, put to the sword, or stoned could stop the disciples from proclaiming The Good News of Jesus Christ. Yes, ten of the remaining eleven disciples died horrible deaths, all while living out their lives to preach in The Name.
Only one disciple died a natural death. Although some believe he miraculously was unscathed after being dipped in boiling oil for his faith, it was later while held prisoner on an island, that he died at an old age for his firm trust in The Name.
Can you right now think of anything in your life that you so truly believe in, you would choose to die an excruciating death for it, instead of publicly declaring it wrong? This is exactly how the disciples died. They chose death on earth over denying The Name. This fact testifies that these average men, all chosen by Christ, believed God had spoken directly to them. It was because of their confidence in Christ, they made known all they saw and believed in Him through their deaths.
This large act of love the disciples demonstrated for His name, differs from our acts of trashing His name. Their hearts were filled with total faith in The Name, as they spread the Gospel to many nations. Our hearts reveal no honor for The Name, when we carelessly toss it into our conversations to exaggerate emotion.