“At the Name of Jesus”


“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:10)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which reminds us that every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth should bow before the Lord Jesus Christ is “At the Name of Jesus.”  The text, based on Phil. 2:5-11, was written by Caroline Maria Noel, who was born on Apr. 10, 1817, at Teston in Kent, England, the daughter of a minister named Gerard Noel.  Her uncle Baptist Noel was also a hymn writer.  Caroline began her most productive writing in middle age, after a prolonged illness.  In 1861 she published The Name of Jesus and Other Verses for the Sick and Lonely.   Later editions were titled The Name of Jesus and Other Poems, and this hymn came from the 1870 edition.  For the last quarter century of her life, Miss Noel was an invalid, and she died on Dec, 7, 1877, at St. Marylebone in Middlesex, England.

     Several tunes have been used with this hymn.  One (Wye Valley) was composed in 1876 by James Mountain but is most often associated with Frances R. Havergal’s “Like a River Glorious.”  Another (Evelyns) was composed for Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1875 by William Henry Monk.  Still another (Morley) was composed in 1867 by Thomas Morley.  Yet another (Urswicke) was composed in 1881 by George Job Elvey.  The traditional tune (St. Cephas) was composed in 1875 by Howard A. Crosbie.  Some newer books use a minor tune (King’s Weston) composed in 1925 by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Some books have anonymous Greek melody (Greek Tune).

     The song offers several reasons why every knee should bow before Jesus.

I. Stanza 1 says that He is the mighty Word

“At the Name of Jesus, Every knee shall bow,

Every tongue confess Him King of glory now;

’Tis the Father’s pleasure We should call Him Lord,

Who from the beginning Was the mighty Word.”

 A. To bow the knee is an act of reverence, devotion, and worship: Ps. 95:6

 B. Also, God wants us to confess the name of Jesus: Matt. 10:32

 C. The reason why Christ is worthy of this honor is that He is the mighty Word: Jn. 1:1

II. Stanza 2 says that He is divine in nature

“Mighty and mysterious In the highest height,

God from everlasting, Very light of light:

In the Father’s bosom With the spirit blest,

Love, in love eternal, Rest, in perfect rest.”

 A. Christ is in the highest height because He ascended on high: Eph. 4:8

 B. We know that He is divine because like the Father He is from everlasting: Mic. 5:2

 C. Thus, He is in the Father’s bosom, signifying oneness with the Father: Jn. 1:18

III. Stanza 3 says that He is the Creator

“At His voice creation Sprang at once to sight,

All the angel faces, All the hosts of light,

Thrones and dominations, Stars upon their way,

All the heavenly orders, In their great array.”

 A. It was at His voice that creation sprang into sight because God created all things through Him: Col. 1:16

 B. This includes even the angels because they, as created beings, are to worship Him who is so much better than they: Heb. 1:4-6

 C. Indeed, because He created all thrones and dominions, He is far above them all: Eph. 1:20-21

IV. Stanza 4 says that He humbled Himself for sinners

“Humbled for a season, To receive a name

From the lips of sinners Unto whom He came,

Faithfully He bore it, Spotless to the last,

Brought it back victorious When from death He passed.”

 A. He humbled Himself by becoming flesh: Jn. 1:14

 B. Then He died for sinners: Rom. 5:8

 C. God rewarded Him for His faithfulness by raising Him from the dead: 1 Pet. 1:21

V. Stanza 5 says that He is our Captain in temptation

“In your hearts enthrone Him; There let Him subdue

All that is not holy, All that is not true;

Crown Him as your Captain In temptation’s hour;

Let His will enfold you In its light and power.”

 A. We should sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts: 1 Pet. 3:15

 B. Only when we do this will He become the Captain of our salvation to keep us in temptation’s hour: Heb. 2:10

 C. Then, His will can enfold us in its light and power so that we can be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power: Eph. 6:10

VI. Stanza 6 says that He shall return in glory

“Brothers, this Lord Jesus Shall return again,

With His Father’s glory, With His angel train;

For all wreaths of empire Meet upon His brow,

And our hearts confess Him King of glory now.”

 A. We know that Jesus shall return because the Scriptures promise it: Acts 1:11

 B. When He comes, He will bring His angel train with Him: 2 Thess. 1:7

 C. Then every tongue shall most assuredly confess Him in judgment: Rom. 14:11

     CONCL.:  There are two other stanzas which are commonly omitted:

5. “Bore it up triumphant with its human light,

Through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,

To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast;

Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.”

6. “Name Him, brothers, name Him, with love strong as death

But with awe and wonder, and with bated breath!

He is God the Savior, He is Christ the Lord,

Ever to be worshipped, trusted and adored.”

Yes, every knee shall bow to Christ and every tongue confess Him in judgment, but for many it will be to their everlasting damnation.  However, it can be to our everlasting glory if in this life we shall confess Christ as Lord and bow the knee “At the Name of Jesus.”


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