And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 1 John 3, verse 23.
This verse paraphrases Luke 10:27, where Jesus tells a follower: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” The first, most important command Jesus gives us in his very-much-alive Word is to love God with everything we’ve got. Not just Sundays; not just when we’re scared or nervous; not just in lip service. Love God by submitting to Him, obeying Him, then living it out. The second command then dovetails off the first, namely to show that love for God by loving our fellow people selflessly, shamelessly, and ceaselessly.
But there’s an important distinction that the verse mentions that makes all the difference in the world. We are “to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.” This was a hard concept for me to grasp; it still is. I mean, I’m David. That’s my name. It’s ‘beloved,’ it’s historical, it’s the name my parents chose for me, it’s how I am identified. I am David in word, action, thought, past and (God-willing) future. I’m me, and I go by the name of David. You can say the same things about your name, too.
The best interpretation of God’s name is Yahweh, meaning ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ Wrap your head around it because even Moses, though he spoke one-on-one with God, still couldn’t noggin it either. When God came to earth as a man, He named His Son Jesus, who was the Christ, the Messiah. Yet even that is only a description of Him, a moniker, of the Triune, 3-in-1 God. God is the Father, is the Son, is the Spirit, is all three in one and one in three. Before the man Jesus came, God is. I AM WHO I AM is the fullness of existence, in everything, about everything, of everything, and within everything. God is pure being, a pure person, and a pure person of being. And He made His beautiful creation to reflect His pure love, power, and mystery to share His glory with mankind.
How can someone stick a simple name on Him? A name is just the start of describing God.
Thus, to believe in the name of the Son is to believe in Jesus as God, as I AM WHO I AM, and as the fullness of all life and eternity. We are to love Him this way, in fullness, then to share that love of (and from) Him with other people. It’s too good to hold on to all by ourselves. We love God by sharing Him in our words, our daily lives, our private times, and in all things.
My lord, I AM WHO I AM, I am in loving awe of You.