What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

What’s in a name?

By Becca Johnson, Jubilee Church Wirral

I had a lovely conversation with someone a little while ago, all about names and their meanings. 

Maybe not something you think about very often, but names are important – in the Bible God is very particular about people having the right names!

Our conversation started because, in a department of four people, there were two called David – it’s a good name, a strong name, means “beloved” or “to love”, and there’s quite a notable character in the Bible by the name of David too!

I mentioned that in the church I grew up in you could shout “Dave” and guarantee that at least seven people would turn around to answer you. There were an abundance of them, and they were all lovely men; it must come with the name!

We moved on to talk about our own names and their meanings – mine is Rebecca, which means “captivating”; his middle name is Josiah, which means “God has healed” and he shared why he was given that name, with a powerful testimony. As I said before, names are important. I wonder if you’ve ever thought about the meaning of your name, or who you’re named after – maybe there’s a character in the Bible or in a famous book or film with the same name as you, and that inspired your name; or maybe you’re named after an important figure in the life of one or both of your parents.

In the Bible, God is very particular about the names that His people are given – in fact, sometimes he changes someone’s name to signify an important change in their life (Abram becomes Abraham, Jacob becomes Israel, Simon becomes Peter). The New Testament starts with a very important name, as Mary and Joseph are both told separately that the son that Mary will bear will be called Jesus, which means “Saviour”. When Gabriel visits Joseph he not only tells him the name to give the baby, but also its significance: “She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) That’s quite a statement to give to a future parent – this child is going to save his people from their sins; what does that even mean?!

Sin isn’t a word that’s used very often these days – so much so that as I’m typing this my phone doesn’t believe me that it’s a word and wants to exchange it for the word “sun”; the two are very different!

Whilst the sun gives light and helps us to see the right paths to take, sin is when we don’t listen to God and we live in way that isn’t His best for us. You could say that’s taking the wrong paths. And why do we need saving from that? Well God created everything, and as a manufacturer knows the best way to build or use the product they’ve created and they know what to do to fix it when it goes wrong, so God knows the best way for people to live in His creation, and if we’re not listening to that and we’re turning our back on it then we’re going to end up in a bit of a mess, we’re not going to have a good relationship with the Creator, and we’re going to need to be rescued.

Thankfully God had a rescue plan all along: His name is Jesus, and he came to Earth to be the rescuer that the world needed. You see, God loved the world so much that he didn’t abandon it when it was in a mess, but he sent His only begotten and dearly loved Son to take the punishment for all the sin and mess of the world, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him won’t perish but will have eternal life and relationship with God. God didn’t send Jesus into the world to condemn the world and remind them how bad they are and how incapable they are of reaching His standards; but rather God sent Jesus so that through Him the world might find salvation and be made right with God.

So Jesus, meaning “Saviour”, is quite a name, a very important name with a very important life and a very important purpose.

The question is this: not just do you know His name, but do you know Him, and do you know what His name means for you?

Jubilee Church Wirral Life Group leaders Rick and Chantal Robertson

Becca Johnson, Jubilee Church Wirral

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