Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19 NET)
Those who have been in the church have likely heard this many times spoken before a believer is emersed in water or baptized (1). However, have you noticed that this verse does not say plural “the names” but rather singular “the name.” Again, my question, what is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’s name?
Why would I ask that question? Glad you asked!
Recall the disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus then followed with what has become known as the Lord’s prayer (1) (Luke 11:2-4). So, what was intended by Jesus, a Hebrew teacher, to be an outline of prayer has often been turned into a vain repetition (Matthew 6:7).
Could it be that we have done a similar thing to this command of baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit?
Realize, the early church baptized in the name of Jesus:
Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38 NET)
(For the Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) (Acts 8:16 NET)
So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days. (Acts 10:48 NET)
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.' (Acts 22:16 NET)
So, why did the early church baptize in the name of Jesus? Could Jesus be the name (1) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow– in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NET)
Today, we still have the custom of exchanging names when we enter covenant (e.g., marriage). Some replace their last name with that of their spouses, and some append the spouse’s last name to their own. Could it be that when the New Covenant was sealed in the holy blood of Jesus (1) that the name of Jesus became the covenant name of the Trinity?
Furthermore, could it be that when Jesus represented us as our mediator (1) and in the power of the Holy Spirit made a covenant with His, and now our, Heavenly Father the name of Jesus became the covenant name (1) of all the family of God in Heaven and on Earth?
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in the heavens and on earth is named, (Ephesians 3:14,15 YLT)
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:11-12 NET)
I believe so. Not saying what we are doing is incorrect, simply that it is incomplete. More completely, we would say, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… that is, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.