Scripture and You

How To Clear Out a Barber Shop In Under a Minute

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Sometimes the mere mention of the name of Jesus has a remarkable effect.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Sometimes the mere mention of the name of Jesus has a remarkable effect - in a barber shop or at a McDonald's counter.

The barber shop around the corner from TeachingTheWord's office is one of the vanishing breed of neighborhood establishments. Older men who live nearby come in just to read the newspaper and socialize in the best small-town fashion. The proprietor, who is not a believer but knows I am a preacher, occasionally asks me questions about religion that provide opportunities for witness. On one visit, while he was trimming the customer ahead of me, he turned and said, "Yesterday a man came in here who claims that the Jews honor Jesus as a prophet. I don't know much about religion, but I really didn't think that was true. Was he right about that?"

I replied, "No, the Jews do not honor Jesus as a prophet. In fact, most Jews reject Jesus altogether, although some do acknowledge Him as a moral man. The Muslims do say that they honor Jesus as a prophet, but they also say that Mohammed is the Great Prophet. But the key thing is that neither the Jews nor the Muslims believe that Jesus is God."

It only took me about twenty seconds to say those three sentences, and I was going to say more. But as soon as I began, I could see the regulars in the shop begin to shift uneasily in their chairs and glance toward the door. I had hardly gotten the words out when one of the men jumped up and said to the proprietor, "Well Mike, gotta get going! See ya later!" The others also got up quickly. "See ya Mike!" "So long Mike!" "Later, Mike!" And off they went as fast as their feet would take them. It reminded me of a scene from some old comedy movie where people are retreating out a door in such a panic that two of them get stuck in it side-by-side. I was almost expecting that.

Sometimes, the name of Jesus will clear out a barber shop in under a minute.

"I Don't Want to Hear That!"

I had a similar experience a few years ago on a Sunday morning. I was scheduled to preach at a church over three hours' drive from home. I started out quite early to allow for possible traffic delays. I stopped at a McDonald's on the way to get a breakfast sandwich.

When I got to the head of the line at the counter, the young man who waited on me said, "Well, you're all dressed up. You headed for church?" I smiled and replied, "Yes, and I'm going to be preaching today." The young man, a smile still on his face, said, "Oh, what are going to preach about?" I replied, "Jesus and the Last Judgment."

The young man's entire countenance immediately changed to a look of abject fear. He shouted, "OH MAN, I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT!" and ran to the back of the kitchen and hid. A supervisor went back to search for the young man. Someone else had to come to the counter and wait on me, and those in the line behind me. I never saw the young man again.

His horrified reaction at the mere mention of Jesus and the Last Judgment reminded me, in miniature form, of the awful scene recorded in the book of Revelation, when at the end of the age Jesus Christ will pour out His judgment upon unrepentant mankind:

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Revelation 6:15-17)

"No Other Name"

The name of Jesus also evoked strong reactions in the days of the early church. We find numerous examples in the book of Acts. In chapter four, Peter preached Christ to the Jewish Sanhedrin, saying

Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the "stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone." Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other Name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:8-12)

Unbelievers' Response to the Name

What was the response of the Jewish rulers?

"What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:16-18)

In Acts chapter five we read that because the apostles persisted in preaching in the name of Jesus, the rulers had them arrested and thrown into prison. And then this -

But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life." (Acts 5:19-20)

When the rulers found out about it, the high priest had them arrested again.

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine... (Acts 5:27-28)

The Apostle Paul in his later years recounted his former life as a persecutor of the early Christians:

Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. (Acts 26:9-11)

Why does the name of Jesus provoke such reactions among the unbelieving? We can understand this by examining the reaction of demons to Jesus in the Gospel records.

When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:28-29)

Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are - the Holy One of God!" (Luke 4:31-34)

What is true of Satan's unseen legions is also true of sinners who are under the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Deep inside, they know they fall under God's condemnation for their sin. Men want nothing to do with Christ, because at their core they understand they cannot stand before the Holy One of God. They "suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them...even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20).

There is Saving Power in Jesus' Name

In such a world, and among such people, we as believers are the temples of the Holy Spirit - the One Who, Jesus said,  shall "convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8). God's Spirit is the One who changes people from Christ-rejecters to Christ-receivers.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12)

Dear Christian friend, never be afraid to proclaim the name of Jesus. Salvation is "by faith in His name" (Acts 3:16).

...[I]f you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9-13)

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)

The Name Above Every Name

We must always remember that the name of Jesus is the supreme Name in all the universe. Sinful men may flee from the mere mention of His name, or take His name in vain. But we can proclaim no greater Name:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested." (Revelation 15:3-4)

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