For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Have you ever considered the importance of names throughout history? Alexander the Great wouldn’t sound quite as good as “Alex the quite good”, or William the Conqueror as “Bill, the chap who sometimes does quite well”. Silly examples, but I’m sure you understand what I mean.
Parents can sometimes take a long time choosing names for their children. So many names have meanings behind them and we wouldn’t want to inadvertently label our children with an inappropriate moniker that would cause embarrassment for the rest of their lives.
In biblical times, a name would have significant meaning. It would often define a person’s character.
On a few occasions we see God change the names of people in the bible. For example, Abram was re-named “Abraham” which meant ‘father of a multitude’. Jacob, whose name meant ‘supplanter’ (quite apt), after wrestling with the angel, had his name changed to ‘Israel’, meaning ‘he who prevails with God’.
Jesus famously changed the name of His disciple Simon, to Peter (meaning ‘rock’).
However, of all the names that have ever been, the most important is Jesus, whose name is…”above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21b). And again in Philippians 2:9 it says “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”
Our passage today is heavily associated with Christmas. There are 4 names for Jesus which we will look at over the next few weeks. We will then continue to look at the many other different names of Jesus, which all describe a different facet or characteristic of this wonderful man who has transformed history.
It is my prayer that over the following weeks we will discover new and wonderful things about Jesus. Come back each Friday to discover more.
Until next year, have a very happy and peaceful New Year.