Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” But the Bard of Avon was wrong! There’s something in a name.
The name Benedict Arnold stands for treason. But Patrick Henry stands for courage.
A name can be a burden or blessing? Remember Johnny Cash’s song “A boy named Sue”?
Names often speak to one’s identity, character, or some aspect of his life. Alexander the Great. William the Conqueror. Simeon the Zealot. John the Baptist.
The wise man wrote, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver and gold. (Prov 22:1). The name of Jesus is great because of who He is, how He lived, and what He did.
Jesus came to earth on a rescue mission to save the human race from the devil’s devices and the guilt of sin. As a result, the name of Jesus is honored, revered and worshiped. One of the great texts of the Bible expresses it this way.
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phi. 2:9-11)
Ahh, the name of Jesus! A name that stirred up controversy among the unbelieving Jews and the pagan Gentiles.
There is something special about the name of Jesus! It divided people then. And it does now. It irritates and angers unbelievers. Just ask Tim Tebow. Or Phil Robertson.
Saying “I thank God” on national TV doesn’t spark the same reaction as thanking Jesus Christ. Why? Because “God” may seem mean anything or anyone to the hearer. Some ethereal Being. Allah. Or another Deity. But Jesus is specific! Jesus was a real person. He lived a perfect life. Called his followers to holiness. And claimed equality with God.
Consider the songs we sing about the name of Jesus, “There is a name I love to hear. I love to sing its worth. It sounds like music in my ear. The sweetest name on earth.”
“Take the name of Jesus with you”.
“Lord, I lift your Name on High”.
“Precious Name, oh How Sweet”.
“Jesus, Name above all Names”.
“His Name is Wonderful”.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, There’s just something about that Name”.
Jesus is the most unique person in all of history. He has been given more titles, designations and metaphorical descriptions than anyone who has ever lived. There are at least 171 appellations attributed to Jesus.
Jesus is called the Ancient of Days. The Almighty God. And the Anointed one. He is the Beloved Son, the blessed of God and the Bridegroom. Jesus is called the Christ. The Captain of our Salvation. And the Chief Cornerstone.
Jesus is the Deliverer, the Divine Son, and the Door of the Sheep. He was called Emmanuel by the Angel, Master by his followers, and Rabbi by curious seekers. The Prophets identified Jesus as the Prince of Peace, the Root of David, and Redeemer of Israel.
The apostle Paul penned that Jesus was the Mediator, the Righteous Judge, and the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
John said Jesus was the Bright and Morning Star, the Beginning and the End, and the Alpha and the Omega.
Peter confessed Him as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Following the resurrection, when Thomas witnessed his riven side and nail scarred hands, he exclaimed, “My Lord! And my God!”
John the Forerunner simply said Jesus was “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
And Jesus? Well, he said, “I am the Way, The Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Fitting, because his name literally means “saves.”
Indeed Emerson was right when he wrote, “The name of Jesus is not so much written but ploughed into history of the world.”.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman