Listen: Alvin Slaughter, "Power in the Name of Jesus"
This week we attended a bible study on the names and title of Jesus. There are easily over 100 different names and titles for Jesus. Why so many?
Think back on your own naming. Most of us have been named after someone esteemed, admired, loved in our family or by our parents. Or our names reflect a quality that is desired -- or a creative combination denoting success, love or a auspicious future. Great thought is given to names, because they symbolize who we are, and carry us through our lives. In the Bible, names are taken very seriously; they convey power and blessing. In some cultures, a person's real name is kept secret, only disclosed to an few intimate people -- a "use" name is given for everyday conversation. Thus is the power of naming. It is not surprising that the Second Commandment tells us "Thou shall not take the Lord's name in vain," and Jesus teaches us to pray, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." One of the first gifts God gave humankind was the power to name animals -- and have dominion over the earth.
My name is Moira because my grandmother loved the ballet dancer/actress Moira Shearer, and particularly the movie, "The Red Shoes." So she picked out the name for her only granddaughter. In turn, when I was at a significant change in my life, I changed my surname to "Ahearne," my grandmother's birth name, to honor her and reclaim her loving presence in my life. This kind of renaming happens, especially in cultures that mark lifechanges. Even in the Bible, God renames Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah. Saul is renamed Paul. Simon is renamed Peter to name a few.
Jesus has many names because he meant so many things to different people. There is no way to capture who he is and what he does for us. But if we explore the names and titles given through the ages, we get a sense of connection to Jesus, his glory, mercy and power, and to our ancestors in faith.
Also important to remember is that scripture promises that we will receive a new name (Rev. 2:17) that "no one understands but the one who receives it." All the names and titles we have accumulated through life will pale in light of the name God gives us. God calls us by name -- a new name that has nothing to do with who we were, what we did, what we think of ourselves -- but a name based on God's love and vision for our life.
This week in Lent, look at this brief list of names and titles for Jesus. Which ones speak to you -- and why?
What name do you have for God?
What is God's name for you?
Chief Cornerstone:(Ephesians 2:20)
Firstborn over all creation:(Colossians 1:15)
Head of the Church:(Ephesians 1:22;4:15;5:23)
Holy One:(Acts 3:14;Psalm 16:10)
Judge:(Acts 10:42;2 Timothy 4:8)
King of kings and Lord of lords:(1 Timothy 6:15;Revelation 19:16)
Light of the World:(John 8:12)
Prince of peace:(Isaiah 9:6)
Son of God:(Luke 1:35;John 1:49)
Son of man:(John 5:27)
Word made Flesh:(John 1:1;1 John 5:7-8)
Word of Life:(1 John 1:1).
Alpha and Omega:(Revelation 1:8;22:13)
Emmanuel:(Isaiah 9:6;Matthew 1:23) – Literally “God with us.”
I Am:(John 8:58, withExodus 3:14)
Author and Perfecter of our Faith:(Hebrews 12:2) – (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Bread of Life:(John 6:35;6:48)
Good Shepherd:(John 10:11,14)
High Priest:(Hebrews 2:17)
Lamb of God:(John 1:29)
Mediator:(1 Timothy 2:5)
Rock:(1 Corinthians 10:4)
Resurrection and Life:(John 11:25)
Savior:(Matthew 1:21;Luke 2:11)
True Vine:(John 15:1)
Way, Truth, Life:(John 14:6)
Pray: "Name beyond all Names, this Lent, reveal to me my true name, my true identity that you have selected for me."