The year was 1999. The tragedy of the Columbine High School shooting had rocked not just the Columbine community but all of America. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, was invited to speak at the memorial service for families and friends.
At that service, Graham stood before 70 thousand mourners and urged them to “seek comfort, hope, and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.”. Some thanked Graham for his message, but a surprising number of people, including some members of the clergy, criticized him.
They criticized him for his use of the name, Jesus. They said it was offensive.
The name of Jesus
It’s heard on TV shows, in movies, and in day to day conversation…too often in the form of a curse word. But when used to provide a healing balm to a group of mourners, there are people considering the name offensive.
Meanwhile, we live in a world that is suffering.
The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide, more than 300 million people have been or are affected by depression.
Anxiety, oppression, family troubles, job woes, unexpected health situations: daily life is filled with struggles and trials, and despite what critics want to say, there are countless accounts showing the name of Jesus to be powerful, life changing, and situation altering. Science can’t explain it; but humans can provide first hand testimonies.
Jennifer Beck is one of them. Several years ago, as she was fighting through depression, and oppression to the point of daily having to remind herself to make “taking the next step” her main goal for the day, she encountered a fight with a darkness that seemed too powerful to defeat. But that’s when she discovered the reality that nothing is too powerful for Jesus.
Why Jesus is the Word
Jesus, when referring to the Son of God, the Son of Man, the One who died on the cross and rose again, triumphing death and the devil, is a Name like none other.
A lame man, who likely spent most of his life begging for daily sustenance, discovered that reality as well.
Acts 3 shares the account of Peter and John’s encounter with such man, one day at the temple. Expecting to receive from them what he typically received from others, it was likely that at first, it was surprising to him that money, nor food would be offered but instead: a name. Yes, a name.
“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”, Peter said in Acts 3:6.
That name of Jesus was the first step, literally, for this man. The Bible says that immediately the man was walking, leaping, and praising God.
The same Name that caused a lame man to walk llifted Jennifer out of the pit of depression and oppression.
And that same Name provided comfort, strength, and courage to those shattered by the Columbine School Shooting, and to the other tragedies that have happened since.
Today that Name is also available for you.
As the Gaither song states so well,
Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that Name.
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