I’m terrible at remembering names.
My friends have endured endless conversations about ‘the blonde actress who’s dating the tall guy’, or ‘that girl I met in the dungarees’, or even ‘that movie that makes me think of the colour green’.
There’s one name I’ll always remember, but I so often forget…
I regularly have conversations with people where I spend the entire time mentally panicking about what on earth their name is. I often laugh it off, but it’s awkward and I leave feeling incredibly rude.
And yet, when it comes to talking about the things that really matter to me, there’s one name I’ll always remember but I so often forget…
I’ll happily describe my church family, ‘my faith’, and even refer to God, but the name of Jesus always feels that little bit harder to say.
Perhaps it’s the way it’s been used as a swear word more regularly than the name of someone we love? Maybe we’re afraid that Jesus’ words will hold true; that just as they rejected him, they might reject us too? Or is it because we know his name holds power, to turn the conversation, to make ears prick up, and to transform lives?
Ultimately, it’s because Jesus was never meant to be a casual namedrop.
Jesus is the most fundamental distinguishing factor between our faith and any other.
When we use the name of Jesus, there’s no confusion over who we’re talking about. Jesus is the most fundamental distinguishing factor between our faith and any other. No other religion has a God who came down to his people, lived among them, died for them, rose again for their salvation, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding on their behalf so that all who believe can be united with him through the Spirit.
Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
In our efforts to fulfil the great commission – sharing the only name that has the power to save – our greatest omission is often the very name of Jesus.
Without the name of Jesus at the heart of how we share our faith, we are not presenting a faith that is any different to other religions.
Fundamentally, I don’t want Christianity without Jesus, so why would other people?
Without the name of Jesus, there is a risk that we just become a friendly neighbourhood community group, a welcoming parent and toddler morning, or a quaint and traditional wedding venue, but nothing more.
Without the name of Jesus, we are under-selling our faith. Fundamentally, I don’t want Christianity without Jesus, so why would other people?
In a little over seven months, I will be getting married. Imagine if I pull a Ross Geller, and as I go to say Angus’ name, I say someone else’s name instead? I would be mortified, and Angus would, understandably, be incredibly wounded.
It seems totally absurd that the name of someone I love wouldn’t be immediately ready on the tip of my tongue, but so often Jesus’ name gets caught in the back of my throat.
And that is my challenge to you this week.
I’m not suggesting we try to crowbar Jesus’ name into conversation, because that’s not how we see him share his message in the gospels. Instead, I’m suggesting that whenever we have an opportunity to talk about our church, our faith, how we make life decisions, that we dare to let the name of Jesus fall naturally into conversation, knowing the full weight that it has.
Because if we truly want to share Jesus with our friends and family, to show them the beautiful relationship available with him and let them know where to find the hope we have, then we have to use his name.