There is authority in the name of Jesus

Published 12:03 am Saturday, April 11, 2015

“Shazam!” Gomer Pyle would exclaim when something surprised or amazed him. That’s the first I recall hearing the strange-sounding word.

The Oxford dictionary defines “shazam” as an exclamation used to introduce an extraordinary deed, story or transformation that sometimes happens instantaneously. Several years ago, I learned the origin of the word, “shazam,” from a minister that I heard speaking to a civic group. I’ve remembered his illustration ever since then and have often greeted him by saying, “Shazam,” instead of hello.

It turns out that the word was invented around the 1940s when comic book character Billy Batson would say, “Shazam,” to transform himself into superhero Captain Marvel battling evil enemies. The letters in the word represent: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. Interestingly enough, the list includes a real person from the Bible and five mythological heroes.

As the minister explained to his audience, when Billy Batson spoke the word, shazam; he was speaking with the combined authority of all those names.

“All authority comes down from a higher power. Authority comes from above. That’s why we say that we are ‘under” someone’s authority,” Adrian Rogers once preached. He continued, “When a policeman knocks and says, ‘Open, in the name of the law,’ we open. Why? He has authority.”

Author R. C. Sproul states, “The very word authority has within it the word author. An author is someone who creates and possesses a particular work. Insofar as God is the foundation of all authority, He exercises that foundation because He is the author and the owner of His creation. He is the foundation upon which all other authority stands or falls.”

Some of the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples on earth before He ascended into heaven were “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18).

The Apostle Paul wrote that God highly exalted His Son, Jesus, giving “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 2:9-11).

Christians will face temptations that come from the evil one – the enemy of our soul. But in Jesus’ name, we have authority to defeat him. Adrian Rogers put it this way, “Authority differs from power. Authority comes from the office. Power resides in the person. Football players, big and fierce, have power. The only man on the football field without a uniform and pads, armed only with a whistle, he – the little guy – has the authority. He can stop a play or send guys to the locker room. Jesus says that we are the ‘little guy.’ ‘I give you authority over all the power of the enemy.’ Our strength comes from His authority. It’s time we told the enemy to take a hike.”

Jan White is an award-winning columnist . She can be reached at