ON THE SACRED NAME OF JESUS
FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE OCTAVE OF THE EPIPHANY
Consider first, these words of the apostle, Phil. ii, spoken of the eternal Son of God, incarnate for us: ‘He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and in hell; and that every tongue shall confess, that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.’ Christians, let us then venerate this sacred name, and all the mysteries and heavenly truths it contains – which are so many and so great, that no tongue can sufficiently express them, nor heart conceive them. The name of Jesus came from heaven; it signifies a Saviour; but such a Saviour as should deliver his people from their sins; reconcile lost man to God; purchase for him mercy, grace, and salvation, and of a slave of Satan, and a child of hell, make him a son of God, and heir of heaven. O what has not our Lord Jesus done, what has he not suffered, that he might be such a Jesus to us? None but he could ever fulfil the import of this heavenly name; none but a God-man, an Emmanuel, that is, a God with us, could be a Jesus to save his people from their sins, and be to them a never-failing source in all true good; even to that degree as to make them in a manner partners in his divinity.
Consider 2ndly, that the name of Jesus is a name of virtue and of power. In this name the churches of God were planted throughout the earth. In this name the Apostles wrought all kinds of miracles, and even raised the dead to life. By this name millions of martyrs have overcome death in all its shapes. This name has peopled the deserts with holy solitaries, and every nation of the Christian world, in every age, with innumerable saints, who ‘looking upon Jesus the author and finisher of their faith,’ have, through his name overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, and are now set down with Jesus in his throne, according to the promise he has made to them that conquer in his name, Rev. iii.21. To this sacred name so many mighty monarchs have yielded themselves captives, submitting both themselves and their kingdoms to the great conqueror, and oftentimes leaving even their crown and sceptre for the love of this divine name. O kingdoms of Jesus, kingdom of mercy and grace, when wilt thou extend thy conquest over all the universe, and bring all kings and people all nations and all hearts, to bow down, to embrace, and to give all praise and glory to this adorable name?
Consider 3rdly, that the name of Jesus carries with it an unspeakable majesty, tempered with humility, meekness, sweetness, and love; inasmuch as it expresses to us a God made man – even a poor, meek, and humble man – out of a pure love for us. It shows forth to us all the divine attributes, stooping, as I may say, to the work of our redemption, in order to raise us up from the dung-hill, and to bring us to a heavenly kingdom. Jesus is a name of mercy, a name of comfort, a name of grace and of salvation: it promises pardon and forgiveness to all penitent sinners; it preaches to them deliverance from their slavery and from their bonds; the discharge of all their debts; the healing of all their maladies; and the rescuing them from all their enemies, and from the wrath to come. It supports the Christian pilgrim under all his labours; it comforts him in all his afflictions; it is his refuge in all dangers; it sets before him the source of all his good; it encourages him to pray with an assurance that there is nothing but what he may obtain, if he prays in the name of his Saviour. It puts to flight all the powers of hell; they cannot bear that sacred name. It conquers the world and the flesh; in fine, opens heaven to all its true lovers and followers. O sacred name, mayest thou be always in our hearts, and on our lips! It was so with the blessed apostle St. Paul: O may we, like him, find all things in Jesus!
Conclude ever to venerate the divine name of Jesus, as presenting to your souls the principal object of the Christian’s faith, the strongest grounds of his hope, and the chiefest motive, and most powerful attraction, to engage his love, viz., a God incarnate, and crucified for us. Thus you may exercise, as often as you hear his sacred name, all the thee theological virtues of faith, hope, and love of God.