I used to work with a man who every time he became irritated about something would yell out JEEESUUS. He wasn't a believer in Jesus and wasn't calling on the Lord for help. He had just picked this up somewhere and used it without understanding. To me it was very irritating, and perhaps I should have said something. The best response I ever heard to this use of Jesus's name was a waitress in a restaurant. Someone sitting at a table behind me saw his bill and yelled out, JEEESUUS! Without missing a beat, the waitress responded with, "If you can't pay your bill you best be calling someone who knows you!" Well put! I thought. It is not merely calling out His name that is important; it's do you understand who He is, and does He know you.
When the name Jesus takes on this type of use, the name loses its meaning. It becomes so common-place and profane that no one thinks of the real meaning. Soon, understanding of the path to salvation inherent in the name is lost. Perhaps this is why the Lord is moving so many to study and understand the ancient names. We need to recover the meaning inherent in the name of our savior. Yahshua, Yeshuwah, Iesous, Jesu or Jesus - whatever name, spelling, or pronunciation is used, it must be understood that the name has an important meaning. And, we need an understanding of that meaning embodied in the name.
One Hebrew word in the Bible translated into English as "salvation" is "yeshuwah." It is a variation of the word that eventually became the English name Jesus. His name is "salvation." However, in English, the word "saved" can carry multiple connotations. It is often used to indicate that something in our possession will be set aside for later use. We say, I'll save this money to buy something later. Or, we say after a big meal, I think I'll save my desert for later! Another meaning of save is "to rescue" and I think this would be a much better translation. The idea of rescue implies that we are in trouble and need some help to get out of it. That is the condition of man and why we need Jesus. Jesus is our rescuer. We can see this expressed in the well-known passage from the Gospel of John.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
The Son was sent that we might not perish but instead that we be rescued. The implication is that without God's help - salvation - rescue, we will perish. We are like men caught in a fast moving river without the strength to swim to the bank or pull ourselves out. If someone doesn't come along and pull us out, we are facing certain death.
Understanding salvation this way gives me a deeper understanding of what our Lord does for us and our response. If I am drowning and someone reaches in to pull me out, it would be just plain stupid to resist. It's equally stupid to try and tell my rescuer what I need him to do or, even worse, to struggle against him. What I have to do in that situation is let go of whatever I am clinging to, reach up and let him pull me out. It takes a willingness to do exactly as he tells me to do, and it takes trust, or faith, that he can actually rescue me. Without that willingness to hear, trust and obey, there can be no rescue.
Doesn't that put an entirely different perspective on things? So many don't want to reach out to Jesus because of a fear of losing control of their lives. Or, they think Jesus is here to condemn them. But this is absurd! We've already lost control, our own shortcomings condemn us, and we are headed for death and destruction. All the while Jesus is standing right there ready to help. Yet so many, full of pride, fear, or some other nonsense, are unwilling to be rescued. So, yes, there is powerful witness in the name: Whatever the situation, if you need rescuing, call out to Yeshuwa, the rescuer.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psalms 9:10)
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. (Psalms 91:14-16)
When the Psalmist says that we "know thy name" he expresses this very concept. We understand, through His name, that He is the only one who can rescue us and that is why we turn away from ourselves towards Jesus. That is the power in knowing His name! We know that He is our rescuer and when we turn to Him, we are rescued.
Wonderful! We are rescued! Are we rescued just so that we can then go along our way without trouble? No. All this effort, Christ's sacrifice, our rescue, is not so that we can then just go get ourselves back where we were.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Romans 6:6-8)
He rescues us to new life in Him. Just as we could not rescue our self in the first place, we cannot walk forward by our self either. In understanding our rescue, we also understand how to go forward to new life. The same way we are lifted out of sin into righteousness is the same way we continue in righteousness: by letting go of self and clinging to Jesus.