Have you ever heard someone swear in anger “Jesus H. Christ?” It made me curious about what the “H” stood for. So I did some research (I Googled!).
Mark Twain mentioned its use in the mid 1800’s. History records usage waned, then picked up in the 1930’s and really peaked around 1970 and continues until even now. So, what does “H” stand for? Harold! It seems to have been traced to children mis-pronouncing “hallowed” in the Lord’s Prayer.
What about “for Chrissake?” What does the sake of Christ have to do with someone’s anger? Knowing Jesus as I do, I’m sure He would deny any reason for His involvement! It’s not like other religious figures get their names used by millions of people every day as cuss words. Think about it. Jesus wasn’t bad; why use a good man’s name? Why not swear in a bad person’s name – like Hitler or Bin Laden? Why take God’s name in vain?
Is it a sign of the end times culture (II Tim. 3:1-4) that the Bible describes? Are we the end times culture that the Bible calls “perilous.”? It’s a word that describes a society with more vices than virtues.
We are in a battle and the battle is spiritual. It is the god of this world versus Jesus and His Good News! (II Cor. 4:3-4) Satan wants to turn the name of Jesus into empty, meaningless profanity. Why? He knows the power of that name.
Since 1965 and the Equal Rights Amendment, more women swear. Why? To seem tough or important? To compete with men? When anyone from grandmothers to kids use the name of Jesus as a curse word, it not only belittles the identity and power in that name but it mocks and dishonors the message of the Cross.
Did you know Jesus Christ is America’s favorite cuss word? Imagine using Allah’s name as a swear word in the middle east. You’d be beheaded. Or Buddha or Krishna? In America, the name of Jesus is used in literature, TV, shows and movies just to get higher ratings!
Noted psychologist Dr. Dan Montgomery blogs: “In past decades most curse words derived from bodily functions related to urination, defecation, sexual intercourse or contempt for another human being. Why, then, this choice? This leap from excrement and sex to a sacred religious name, the name at the heart of Christianity? A name held holy by the majority of Americans and over two billion Christians worldwide? Why does Jesus Christ head the list of national vulgarities so endemic to America culture?”
Using Jesus’ name no longer shocks. It is used cussing someone, in surprise, reacting to physical pain, venting anger or contempt for someone or something. Montgomery writes: “derogatory though it is, the Christ-expletive becomes a societal merit badge. A badge of mockery. A verbal badge that dishonors Christ, Christianity and Christians.”
But how did Jesus intend for the power of His name to be used?
After the Resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were changed people. Peter was preaching and healing in the name of Jesus through faith in His name, and he was arrested for it (Acts 3 & 4). The Council only wanted to know by what power or what name he had done this. Peter declared it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
The early church understood the power that came with that name. They knew that if they preached or healed in that name, heaven would back them up. Peter spoke one line, not a lengthy prayer – but his words had power: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And the lame man did so. Not even a prayer, but the name carried power and authority. Devils don’t like the name of Jesus. They know the power. They are glad when Christians don’t understand the authority that name commands.
All authority rests in that name. That name sets people free. When we speak in that name, we will see the miraculous happen!
In Jesus’s final commissioning to His followers, He said go, preach, heal and set people free using My name. He wanted them to know the power was in the name, not in a degree from Bible School or slick preaching or long prayers – but in the name of Jesus.
So let’s do just that! Let’s boldly use the name of Jesus. After all, the world is using it – and we are at war with the world.