Praising God's Holy Names
The teaching of Jesus we are discussing is the praising of the Supreme Being's Holy Names.
Here is the verse providing reference to Jesus' statement:
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. (Luke 17:15)Now we must ask, why would the man bother to return and be 'praising God in a loud voice'? And why would Jesus make such a big deal, saying:
Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?"There is only one answer to both of these questions:
It is because Jesus placed great importance upon praising God's Holy Names. It was a critical part of Jesus' teachings.
Jesus' followers praised God as a practice
We can also draw this conclusion based on the many occasions where others who followed Jesus praised God:
When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man. (Matt. 9:8)
The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. (Matt. 15:31)
He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God (Mark 2:12)
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God (Luke 2:28)
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. (Luke 1:64)
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God (Luke 2:13)
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:20)
Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. (Luke 5:25)
They were all filled with awe and praised God. (Luke 7:16)
Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. (Luke 13:13)
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:43)
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” (Luke 23:47)
And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:53)So we see from these verses that praising the Supreme Being occurred with some frequency, revolving around the teachings and activities of Jesus. Practically every major miracle was followed by people who witnessed it praising the Supreme Being.
A critical part of Jesus' teachings
Then there is the last statement above - Luke 24:53. The "they" in this verse is referring to Jesus' disciples and students. And the timing of their sojourn at the Temple was following Jesus' reappearance to them after his persecution.
Thus we find that praising God's Holy Names was so critical to Jesus' teachings, that once he re-appeared to them, they all stayed at the temple praising God's Holy Names.
We also find a critical phrase in all four gospels, regarding Jesus:
"‘Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.’” (Matt. 21:9, Mark 11:9, Luke 19:38, John 12:13)This phrase is actually derived from David's Psalm 118:
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let Israel say: "His love endures forever." Let the house of Aaron say: "His love endures forever." Let those who fear the LORD say: "His love endures forever." When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; He brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; He is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the Name of the LORD I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the Name of the LORD I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The LORD's right hand has done mighty things! The LORD's right hand is lifted high; the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!" I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you; You are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. (Psalm 118)
What does this phrase mean?
We can see clearly from this Psalm that David is speaking of the Supreme Being - God. And thus the "Name of the Lord" here would be none other than the Holy Name of the Supreme Being.
And since David is stating clearly not only the power of God's Holy Name - but he is praising God's messenger who comes to teach of the glories of God's Holy Name. This is very clear from David's Psalm 118.
Now we can translate the importance of praising God's Holy Name - communicated by David - to Jesus. Why? Because as Jesus was heading down to Jerusalem, his followers were all chanting this phrase, "Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord."
Thus we can only conclude that indeed, Jesus did "come in the Name of the Lord."
Which means, quite simply, that Jesus taught the importance of praising God's Holy Names. And he praised God himself. Here is one example:
He said to them, “When you pray, say: “ ‘Father, hallowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Luke 11:2)We also find throughout the Scriptures of the Bible, many other Bible verses showing the evidence of the importance of praising God's Holy Names.
Lost teaching of Jesus
Yet despite all this clear scriptural evidence, we find that today's institutional sects claiming to follow Jesus do not teach the importance of praising God's Holy Names. Surely they will on occasion say "praise Jesus." And surely there is nothing wrong with this. But as Jesus himself points out to the man who was healed of his leprosy who returned to praise God - praising God's Holy Names is one of the critical teachings of Jesus.
And we can see by the example of Jesus' disciples, who 'stayed continually at the temple, praising God' (Luke 24:53) that this activity pleases Jesus: Praising God's Holy Names.
We also see by Jesus' statements and the events surrounding Jesus that praising God's Holy Names should not only be the major ceremony taking place in the temple - this devotional activity can be done anywhere at any time.
We can apply Jesus' teaching directly to our lives. This can be done by simply choosing one or several of God's Holy Names and repeating those Holy Names. Praising God can be done as one is walking. It can be done with music and singing - with family and friends or by oneself. It can also be done meditatively.
Regardless of how praising God's Holy Names is done, it allows us to connect with the Supreme Being. God presents Himself to us through this transcendental means by His mercy. Anyone seeking to reconnect with Him - and come to know Him and redevelop our innate love for Him - may do so through the process of repeating and praising His Holy Names.
This was a critical part of Jesus' teachings - as well as a part of the teachings of all the Prophets.