Every Thought Captive

The Name of Love & Justice

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but Himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 19:11-16

The city is shattered. Office buildings and apartments stagger cracked and shell-shocked. Along a retaining wall, among the waste and bullet holes, a young girl sits in the sand. She cannot be much older than three. Pink shirt, wiry hair, almond skin smudged in ash, she stares with eyes as dark and empty as smoke. For days, the girl has been hiding among the dead. The sky is clear blue.


“As long as we wake up every morning under a peaceful sun, we must lead an everyday life,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said at the Harvard commencement in 1978. “Yet there is a disaster which is already very much with us.” We can try to ignore it or mask it with entertainment, achievements, and striving after more things. But calamity lies beneath the surface. “This is the essence of the crisis,” Solzhenitsyn said, “The split in the world is less terrifying than the similarity of the disease…” Humanity screams for glory, to make a name, and evil spills out.

To have a name is to have real presence, to possess a kind of power that must be accounted for. If we are to avoid disaster, we must recover a name above self-interest, politicians, and celebrities. The only name capacious enough to encompass the world and reconcile the split in the human heart is the name of God.

The prophet Isaiah writes, “Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down...to make Your name known to Your adversaries” (Isaiah 64:1, 2). And John’s Revelation answers, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True…He has a name written that no one knows but Himself...the name by which He is called is The Word of God...He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:11, 12, 13, 16). To have a name “no one knows but Himself” is to have ultimate power, to be the One with whom we must finally deal.

This is the same Jesus, the Word of God, faithful and true, who prayed, “O righteous Father,...I made known to them Your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:25, 26). God’s wrath is not reckless cruelty. It is not cruelty at all. It is the fierceness of pure love in the face of evil, strong enough to purge injustice and embrace the perpetrator. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this,” Paul writes, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:8-9). The place where love and justice meet is the name of Jesus.


A man in military fatigues, helmet, and bullet proof vest, follows closely behind an armored tank. His hands are empty. Nearing the girl, still several yards away, the tank stops. The distance between the man and the girl is the space between life and death. He takes a breath, deep enough for eternity, and runs. Gunfire popping all around, reaching the girl, he lifts her over his shoulder and turns, boots pounding crushed concrete and sand. He exhales behind the tank. Walking down a road of devastation, the man cradles the girl in his arms. Before falling asleep, just for a moment, she smiles.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'...Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:19, 21).

About the Author

Photograph of Brett Bradshaw

Brett Bradshaw

Director of Christian Formation

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Brett Bradshaw serves as the Director of Christian Formation at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. Andrea is his wife whom he delights to love. Ellie, Emery, and Haven are his precious daughters, the little ones who are a daily glimpse of the Kingdom of God.