The Herald Weekly Vol XVI : 48

The Meaning Of Names

What does your name mean? Parents give names to their children. Often the chosen name would have been specially selected because of the meaning or story behind the name. Sometimes, the name is given to remember a person who means a lot to the parents, and they wish to be reminded of this loved one through the baby’s given name. The name of a baby stays with him or her for the rest of his/her life. Sometimes, the child finds it hard to live up to the given name. Others are inspired to lead a great life in honour of the given name.

The Name of Jesus

Before the birth of Jesus, the angel of the Lord appeared before Joseph, and said to him: “…fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:20-21) This was in fulfilment of the prophet Isaiah’s words: “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14).

The name of Jesus means “Saviour.” He was the promised Messiah whom the Jews had been waiting for. He would save His people from their sins. J C Ryle says that Jesus would save His people from the “guilt of sin, by cleansing them in His atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit.”

What does the name of Jesus mean to you?

William C. Martin (1864-1914) was from Hightstown, New Jersey. He was pastor of the Grace Baptist Church Camden, New Jersey (1891-4), and three other Baptist churches before he died in Florida in 1914. He wrote the words of the hymn “The Name Of Jesus”, the first verse and chorus are as follows:

The name of Jesus is so sweet,
I love its music to repeat;
It makes my joys full and complete,
The precious name of Jesus.

Jesus! Oh, how sweet the name,
Jesus! Let all saints proclaim
Jesus! Every day the same;
Its worthy praise forever.

To Pastor William Martin, our Saviour’s name meant a lot to him. The rest of the lyrics of the whole hymn tell us how much Jesus Christ meant to him. He shares that His Saviour’s heart knows and bears a part of all his griefs. His Saviour’s name never fails to cheer him up and bids all his anxiety to disappear. To Pastor Martin, the name of Jesus is so sweet and its music dries up all his tears. Indeed, Pastor Martin urges all saints to proclaim the name of Jesus because it is worthy of praise forever.

A popular hill song entitled “What A Beautiful Name” is known for its lyrics about the name of Jesus. It refers to Jesus’ name as a beautiful name, and that nothing compares to His name. It talks about how Jesus has no rival, and He has no equal because it is a powerful name. Indeed, the name of Jesus is beyond comparison, and is not to be taken lightly or unreverently.

The other names of Jesus

The Bible has records of many names given to our Lord Jesus. Isaiah the prophet foretold the Saviour’s birth: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa 9:6)

As we enter into the month of December, we are reminded of the birth of Christ, and together with His birth, His name. What do the names of Jesus mean to you? Is it just a name we sing about repeatedly, especially when the tune is so lovely. But, besides that, what else do the names of Jesus mean to us?

In what ways is Jesus ‘wonderful?’ How is Christ a Counsellor for all of our lives’ problems? In what ways has God shown Himself to be our mighty God? How do we relate to Christ as The Everlasting Father who will one day receive us to live with Him eternally? In what ways does Christ bring ‘Peace’ into our lives?

As we remember the birth of Christ this month, let us deeply consider how Jesus Christ our Saviour should make a great impact on our lives as we ponder over the five-fold description which the prophet Isaiah wrote concerning the name of Jesus.

Pastor Bob Phee

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