While waiting for our children to be born, my husband and I undertook an important task: choosing a name. It felt like a huge responsibility, selecting the name that would carry this child through life. The name had to be just right: not too cumbersome or common; not too formal or weird; not too old for a newborn or too young for an octogenarian. The syllables had to flow well. It had to evoke positive emotion — at least in us, the parents. So many considerations! Part of the challenge was defining someone we had yet to meet. Would the name we chose fit the person God was adding to our family?
A good name is more desirable than great wealth. Respect is better than silver or gold. (Proverbs 22:1, GW)
A name is much more than a word. We answer when called by name. Others know us by our name. When people hear our name, they have an image or impression of us. It describes us and become part of our identity; it is a symbol, a representation, of who we are.
Names are very important to God. Throughout the Bible, names and their meanings are explained. In fact, angels told Mary and Joseph the name God had chosen for His Son:
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. (Luke 1:31, NASB)
She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21, NASB)
Jesus means to deliver, to rescue, or he saves. What a big name — and life mission — for a baby to grow into! While Mary and Joseph were relieved of the task of choosing a name, I imagine they pondered how a child — their child — could live up to all this name implied.
But Jesus did grow into His name. He fulfilled His God-given purpose on earth. He delivered people from the power of sin and death. He saved people from the punishment they deserve for their sin. He will return to rescue people from the presence of sin and death. We find far more life in Jesus, in His deliverance, His salvation, and His rescue.
When we hear a name mentioned we react to it based on our experiences with that person. We may feel sad when hearing the name of a loved one who is deceased. We may feel joy at the name of a long-lost friend. We may feel a surge of love hearing the name of a person or pet that is especially dear to us. We may feel anger or pain at the name of someone who has wronged us. We may feel hope and anticipation hearing the name of a person we are about to meet for the first time.
People also react to the name of Jesus. Currently, His name is often used as a curse word, a term of contempt or disgust. But one day every person who has ever lived will react to His name this way:
…God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11, NASB)
Imagine what it will be like when everyone reacts with reverence to the name of Jesus. It gives me goosebumps just to think about everyone giving Him the response He deserves! I believe in that moment we, God’s daughters, will experience far more life as never before. I believe His presence will fill our hearts with more love, joy, and peace than we can imagine. I think we will gain a deeper understanding of Jesus as our deliverer, rescuer, and Savior.
Fortunately, we do not have to wait until Jesus returns to have far more life. We can begin living in fellowship with Him during this lifetime. Think of how rich life would be with a best friend who is:
- Immanuel; God with us (Matthew 1:23)
- Faithful (Revelation 19: 11)
- True (Revelation 19:11)
- The Light of the World (John 8:12)
- The Way (John 14:6)
- Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
- Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
- The Word of God (Revelation 19:13)
- King of Kings (Revelation 19:16)
- Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16)
Jesus is all of these and more to each person who calls on His name.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Joel 2:32, NIV)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10, NIV)
Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. (I John 3:1, PHILLIPS)
Being able to call on Jesus and receive the name “child of God” is a great privilege. Living in His name and experiencing far more life is an honor. And one day, on our knees, we will have the joy of calling out the name of our Deliverer, Rescuer, and Savior.
What does the name of Jesus mean to you?
Are there any of His names (characteristics) you doubt?
Are there any barriers that prevent you from calling Him your best friend and experiencing far more life?
Experience far more life by being alert to how His names are active in and around you.
Copyright 2019-20, Shari Damaso