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What’s in a name? I read this week that the Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom reported that no baby girls were named Carol in 2014, and only 33 boys were named Gary! I’ve got nothing against anyone called Carol or Gary but names definitely move in and out of fashion.

Over recent years, many of the names from our parent’s/grandparent’s times have become fashionable. For example, Arthur, Harry, Albert, Stanley, Harriet, Betty and so on.

In the West, there isn’t the same degree of importance placed on ‘names’ as in other parts of the world. 

We also see examples of this in the pages of our Bible. Hannah prayed that God would give her a son. God answered her prayer and she called her son, Samuel, which means, ‘Asked of the Lord’. Isaac means, ‘laughter’; as Sarah laughed when God said that in her old age she would conceive.

According to scholars, a study of Jewish names from all historical sources from 50 BC to AD 135 confirms that the most popular Jewish name of that period to be Simon.

And this is reflected in the New Testament, where the most popular male name is also Simon, belonging to 8 different individuals. (There’s a ‘ready-made’ Bible Study – who are the 8 Simon’s)??  

One of the most well-known verses in the New Testament focuses on the name given to Jesus, himself: 

You will name him, JESUS, for He will save his people from their sins

Matthew 1:21

Jesus’ name not only expressed his earthly identity but more importantly, what was His purpose for coming to earth.  

I don’t know about you, but I get angry and very disappointed when I hear the name of Jesus being used disrespectfully; especially when his name is used to express frustration or surprise. 

I love some of the old hymns that so eloquently express the importance of the name of Jesus:

  • John Newton’s 2nd most famous hymn – ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear’….
  • ‘There is a name I love to hear I love to sing its worth’…. ‘Oh, how I love the Saviour’s name’
  • And some of the more recent worship songs such as, ‘Jesus, name above all names’; ‘Jesus, what a beautiful name’; ‘Lord, I lift your name on high’… and so on…

The name of Jesus is above every name and ‘trumps’ everything. It is more powerful than any addiction, disappointment, loss, brokenness, lack, wrong thinking and misguided actions. The name of Jesus can be yielded like the sword that it is, to break every chain that holds us captive to the ways of the enemy and brings forgiveness, salvation, freedom, redemption and restoration. Jesus overcame sin and death to rise again. The power that restored Him to life is available to us to break the things that keep us from becoming all that God created us to be and to achieve His purposes through us. 

‘Jesus’ is the name that can be everything that you need today – that reassurance in the tough times and the confidence needed when it’s hard to keep going. 

His name is like ‘honey on your lips’ – it certainly is ‘a beautiful name’….

Enjoy His presence this week.

Author Paul Emmerson

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