Friday, December 29, 2023

What’s in a Name?

Friday, December 29, 2023

What’s in a Name? Submitted by Kay Crumley


Are names important?  Do they have specific meanings?  When couples prepare to start a family one of the things they do is research names they would like to use. There are lists to be found on the internet with definitions of names or of historical figures who had those names. Often the name is selected because it is someone we admire or is a family name we wish to honor. Sometimes the couple wants to select a name that is unique and will create a new name or spelling for the new baby.  Names are important to the family and the individual. It may hold significance for many reasons, the traditional meaning, the character of the one who bore the name, or honoring the family heritage.   


Biblical names often have significance directly from God. In the Old Testament we know that the first man was named Adam which means earth. God created man form the soil and breathed life into him. God made a covenant with Abram promising him, at age 90, that he would be the father of many nations. He changed his name to Abraham, meaning father of a multitude. God had an encounter with Jacob when he fought with an angel. Jacob’s name became Israel meaning ‘let God prevail’. He received the covenant given Abraham to continue promises for God’s people.   


Occasionally God gave the name to the child before it was born. We read in Luke 1 that the angel Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth and Zechariah telling them they would have a child in their old age, and they were to name him John, he will be great in the sight of the Lord vs 15. That child became John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way for Jesus.  Six months later that same angel appeared to Mary and Joseph. They each learned that Mary would have a baby and that it would be conceived by the Holy Spirit and be God’s Son. They were told to name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High vs 32. 


Luke 2 records the birth of Jesus as well as the official naming of Jesus. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem as was required by Jewish Law. He would be christened and circumcised by the priest.    


21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. 

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”),24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”


They were met by ‘a righteous and devout man’ Simeon as well as a prophetess Anna who each confirmed that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.   


However, we find that Jesus was not the only name we know Him by. Our Lord Jesus Christ or Jesus Christ are also names often used. The statement that Jesus is Lord means He is God. Christ means anointed or chosen one. This is the equivalent of Messiah. Jesus is His human name, Christ is His title, and Lord declares He is Sovereign. He is Jesus, the Son of man. He is Christ, the promised Messiah. He is Lord, a member of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is Immanuel, God with us, Matthew 1:23.  We, as His children, must recognized Him as Lord of our lives, making Him our God. He came to earth as the Son of Man to be with us and take our place as sacrifice for our sin. He is the Messiah who came to earth, descended to heaven, and will return to earth again.  


What then are we to do? We claim to be Christians, or little Christs. Followers of Christ belong to Him as slaves belong to their master. He is our Master. We must mimic His character, His righteousness, and His purpose. An example of this is when we watch children who walk with the same gait, speak with the same inflections, and react with similar expressions as their parents. Those children have become the image of or mirrors of their parents. Jesus is our Father, our parent. We are to live in a way that will cause others to see His character and love in the way we live. Consider, daily, how we can exemplify our Lord Jesus Christ to the people we encounter.  




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