Barclay (1976) talks of the name of a person “not simply that by which a person is called, it stands for the whole character of a person” (I John 2:12-14, p 53). To invoke the name of God or of Jesus is to invoke his character and his power.
When we hear a person's name, we immediately have a picture of that person. That will invoke thoughts of warmth or loathing or … depending on our knowledge of the person. If we have little knowledge of the person, the name will mean nothing and it has little impact on us.
Those who in the name of Jesus call for healing or to drive out evil can only do so if they know Christ and to some extent if the person that they seek to heal knows Christ. It is the knowledge of the character of Jesus that brings power and not simply invoking his name.
The evangelist and healer, therefore, must start with the revealing of the nature and character of God. To do this means starting with walking with him and getting to know him. Barclay talks of how John would have been “thinking of his own experience” (p 54). John had walked with Jesus and grown to love him. He had a vast knowledge and experience of him. It is from this position of knowledge that he uses the name of God as he shares with people.
May we develop the same depth of knowledge of God.
Barclay, W. (1976). The letters of John and Jude (revised ed.). Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press.