originally published in the July/August 2015 edition of Grace in Focus
The expression “for My [or His] name’s sake” occurs eleven times in the New Testament, in all four Gospels (seven times), Acts (once), John’s first and third epistles (once each), and Revelation (once).1 It is not found at all in the epistles of Paul, Peter, James, Jude, or the book of Hebrews.
I was interested to see that 100% of these refer to the Lord Jesus and none to God the Father. This makes sense, of course, since Jesus is our Savior and Mediator and the One whom we serve.
Here are all of the uses:
Matthew 10:22 (see also Mark 13:13 & Luke 21:17). [Jesus said,] “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Note: compare Matt 24:13 and Matt 24:22. The salvation here is salvation from physical death during the Tribulation, not salvation from eternal condemnation.
Matthew 19:29. [Jesus said,] “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” Note: the Lord is speaking here of inheriting an abundant experience of everlasting life, not of simply getting into the kingdom.
Matthew 24:9. [Jesus said,] “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
Luke 21:12. [Jesus said,] “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.”
John 15:21. [Jesus said,] “But all these things [hating and persecuting the disciples] they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”
Acts 9:16. [Jesus said,] “For I will show him how many things he [Saul of Tarsus] must suffer for My name’s sake.”
1 John 2:12. “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.”
3 John 6-7. “If you send them [traveling Christian teachers] forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.”
Revelation 2:2-3. [Jesus speaking,] “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.”
My conclusion from this study is that we are called to serve and to suffer for the sake of the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While we certainly pray to the Father and are empowered by the Holy Spirit, our ministry is specifically directed toward the Lord Jesus. His name is indeed wonderful.
1. The Greek is not identical, however. Three different prepositions are used to convey the sense of “for.” They include dia (seven times), huper (twice), and heneken (twice).