Is ‘the name of Jesus’ a kind of mantra?

“Mantra” is a sound associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. The sound is used to realize a thought or purpose. The word has several meanings, like e.g. a prayer, hymn or spell. It is the repetition of the sound or word that is supposed to trigger the effect. 

Interestingly, Jesus repeatedly spoke about prayer in his name. 

Here is one example: 

You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 14:14

It is very clear that the first Christians had accepted this teaching and practiced it. They believed that Jesus was among them when they gathered in His name (1). They proclaimed that miracles happened through faith in the name of Jesus (2). They baptized in the name of Jesus (3), and they proclaimed that there is salvation in no other name (4). 

Nevertheless, there is nothing to suggest that they used the name as a form of mantra. The name had power only when it was used through faith in Jesus Christ.  If used outside of such a context, the name may function against its purpose. An example of this can be found in the story about the seven sons of Sceva who tried to exorsize evil spirits in the name of Jesus without knowing him as Jesus Christ (5). 

I often exclaim ‘Jesus’, but not as a sacred sound or a magic formula that will get me in contact with a deity that is outside of me or in me. I use the name because I believe it symbolizes everything that God is able to do for and through me. It is by that name, the Father is glorified, for it confirms that I believe in Him and all that he has done for me. Further it confirms that faith is linked to His name and not to mine. 

So, when General Peddle reminds us that “our mission is to meet human needs in Christ’s name (6) – it is more than a ‘sacred sound’ – it places our ministry right at the heart of God’s mission. For the purpose of this mission, nothing should be done, or can be done, outside of his name. 

‘Manna’ for today: 

In the name of Jesus Christ only!

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(1) Matthew 18:20 
(2) Acts 3:16 
(3) Acts 2:38 
(4) Acts 4:12 
(5) Acts 19:13-16 
(6) General Peddle’s call: A Call to Inclusion: We must be beyond reproach in treating all people with respect and compassion, remembering our mission to meet human needs in Christ’s name without any discrimination

Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.

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