Speaking in Jesus's Name
These two verses have always bothered me. These people that Jesus is talking about are making the claim to him that they did all these wonderful things in his, Jesus's, name. "We prophesied in your name, we cast out devils in your name, and we have done many wonderful works in your name!" they say to Jesus.
Jesus never contradicts their claims. He doesn't say that they never casted out a devil. He doesn't deny their wonderful works. The issue, for Jesus, isn't these things. He says to them,
This presents two immediate questions:
- 1) What did these people do wrong?
- 2) How can we be sure that we're doing actions in Jesus's name?
What Did These People Do Wrong? Back to Top ↑
The first question has a very simple answer, we just have to look back one verse. Jesus said,
This makes sense. Jesus said,
Likewise, because Jesus had the will of the Father, we was able to speak in God's name:
Thus, the people that Jesus says, "I never knew you," to could not have spoken in Jesus's name, because they did not know his will, which is the will of God. And if they're not doing the will of God, then they are sinning. That is why Jesus said,
The Will of the Father Back to Top ↑
- For an in-depth look at the will of God, see A Summary of the Will of God
Of course, no one can do the will of the Father unless they know it. How can a spokesman represent a king if they do not know the king's will? It cannot be done.
So what is the will of the Father? It is simple. Jesus said,
The Will of Those People Back to Top ↑
With this in mind, we can now see why Jesus didn't care about what those people said.
Let us assume for simplicity's sake that those people didn't lie. That they did in fact, "prophesy in Jesus's name," "cast out devils in Jesus's name," and "did many wonderful works in Jesus's name." We already went over how the fact that they said they did these things in Jesus's name is immaterial, as they did it without the will of the Father, so we will instead focus on their actions.
Prophesizing in Jesus's Name Back to Top ↑
Prophesizing in Jesus's name is an incredibly devious thing. Those that claim they receive visions in Jesus's name are in dangerous territory. Jesus warned his disciples that this could happen, saying,
Thus, it makes sense that Jesus denied these prophets their place in the kingdom. There is nothing left to prophesize,(John 17:7.) Jesus has come and he has made the purpose of this world clear: We are to be resurrected at the last day. Unless the prophesizing is related to that purpose, then it is not Jesus's will. And if it's not Jesus's will, then it is not God's will. And if it's not God's will, then the prophet does not belong in the kingdom of God.
Casting Out Demons in Jesus's Name Back to Top ↑
The second thing these people claimed to have done is to cast out devils. This is a marvelous thing, so long as it is true. Jesus himself casted out many devils in his ministry. In a disputed portion of Mark, Jesus might have said,
But Jesus will still look at these people and say,
We must understand that casting out devils is a miracle. A sign. Jesus even called it that in the verse we just went over,
And of course, if we seek out such exorcists for wisdom, Jesus says of us,
We can now see that simply performing signs and wonders are not enough proof for someone speaking in Jesus's name. These signs have no relation to doing the will of Jesus. That's not to say these signs are bad, only that they mean nothing, insofar as speaking the name of Jesus.
However, these people are claiming that because they did these good deeds by ridding people of devils, they shouldn't be denied the kingdom of heaven. However, casting out devils does not mean that they are doing the will of God, which is the prerequisite to entrance into the kingdom. Only those who do the will of the Father are fit for his kingdom, and it is for this reason that Jesus denies them home in the kingdom.
It is also interesting to consider the ploy from the devil. Say a devil resides in a victim, and a God fearing exorcist says to the devil, "In the name of Jesus, leave this person!" The devil then has two choices, they can either stay in their victim because the exorcist's words have no power over them (as the exorcist does not do the will of the Father), or they can act their portion and leave the victim, therefore tricking the exorcist into believing their delusions stronger than previously. Which is more insidious? Which action results in the exorcist and victim remaining dead during the resurrection at the last day? Surely it is the devil leaving, even when he has the power to stay. Should the devil stay in defiance to the exorcist, the exorcist may falter in their false beliefs, research where they went wrong, and learn the truth: That God's will is solely concerned with the resurrection. Jesus gave this will very clearly when he said,
Wonderful Works in Jesus's Name Back to Top ↑
The third thing that these people try to claim are their good works.
But let us look more at what sorts of "wonderful works" these people may claim. Some may have been of poor means, and only had time. Perhaps they volunteered at charities, which directly resulted in feeding 10,000 people a year due to their labor. This is a wonderful thing! And yet, it is not God's will. We should be mindful that Jesus said,
It is a very good thing to donate time to charitable causes. I am making that claim. Let me strengthen it: You are an objectively better person for donating time to charitable causes than someone who does not. And so, I am making this claim. And yet, I am a man. My opinion does not change the fact that what you are doing is an abomination before God.
Let me explain. We already know that God's will is for us to resurrected at the last day. To do so, we must follow God's will, and want to be resurrected. We must hate this Earth, which is devoid of God, and want to go to him. Jesus said,
We can see that the standard to entering the kingdom of heaven is already high. We must throw away our standard notions of life and death, and adopt Jesus's. If we help people by trying to keep them alive, we are prolonging life. Did Jesus not say,
By indiscriminately providing food, health, wealth and companionship, we risk letting the person we're helping love their life. That goes directly against God's will, and therefore is means of being denied entry into the kingdom of God. That those that do charity gain reputation among men show this. You can either be with God, and not of this world, or you can be of this world, and away from God.
Therefore, we can see that if we had just listened to Jesus, we wouldn't have to wonder why Jesus denied these wonderful people entry to the kingdom.
"I Never Knew You." Back to Top ↑
Let us focus for a moment on that word 'never' that Jesus used.
So everyone that knows Jesus for just a moment will know his will. They will never forget it.
But in not even knowing Jesus's will, which is God's will, they became dead. They were completely and utterly sinners. They did not do one good thing that God wanted. And thus, by not knowing Jesus, and by not performing his Father's will, they became the "workers of iniquity" that Jesus called them. Even though they did so many great and wonderful things for the world.
Even worse, they have nothing they can blame. By being aware of Jesus, and even by declaring that they did actions in his name, they show that they had some understanding of the gospels. Yet, they did not believe on Jesus. Jesus said,
Should We Even Speak in Jesus's Name? Back to Top ↑
So, knowing all this, should we even be speaking in Jesus's name? Well, yes. To speak in anyone else's name would be to do the will of anyone else. If possible, we should only be speaking in Jesus's name. Jesus said,
How Can We Be Sure That We're Doing Actions in Jesus's Name? Back to Top ↑
So, back to our second question, how can we be sure that we're properly doing actions in Jesus's name? Well, we have Jesus himself as an example. Jesus laid aside his own will to do his Father's will.(John 6:38.) If we enact the will that Jesus had, we will naturally be speaking in his name, just like Jesus did. Jesus said,
That is why Jesus didn't come down from the cross with twelve legions of angels,(Matthew 26:54.) let himself die early to go back to his father,(Matthew 4:5, John 8:59.) or become an Earthly king.(John 6:15.) None of those things are concerned with the resurrection at the last day, and so they are not God's will for Jesus to do. And so, quite simply, Jesus did not do them.
If we have the same will that Jesus had, then we will naturally be doing everything in his name.
Everyone preaching in this age come in two forms. Either they speak in the Father's name through Jesus, or they speak in another name. And if they don't have the will of the Father, then they cannot speak in his name. We should wary of such people. We do not want to listen to them, we want to listen to Jesus.(John 5:43.)