Sunday, December 27, 2020

 


“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Acts 2:21

I’m a very literal person and I’ve pondered at this one for quite some time. But today God opened my mind to the answer. 

“Trust in the name of Jesus” is just one of many phrases that give value to Jesus’ name.  Yes, His name was declared by the angel who came to Mary announcing his upcoming birth (Luke 20:21).  Yes, it is a special name.  But why is it so special that trusting in it would grant you salvation?  It seems I understood this all along but never applied it to the name of Jesus.

Think of the words below for just a few seconds each:

Turquoise

Dog

Hot

I guarantee you we all have different thoughts towards those words. 

When thinking of turquoise, did you think about the stone, or the color, or perhaps the ocean water that is that color?

When you think of dog, is it of a pet you had? Did you feel sad remember a pet that died?  Perhaps was it a fearful feeling? Or perhaps you related it to the odor of a wet dog and dog hair all over furniture?

When you heard Hot, did you think of a stove top, a campfire, or a sporty hot rod car?  Or maybe, like me, you thought a sun scorching day at the beach.

When I named my children, I didn’t want them to have common names.  I was adamant about it.  With common names come connotations of those you’ve known in the past with that name, much like how you feel about the word’s turquoise, dog, and hot.  I wanted my children to be known only for who they are.  I saw that as a wide-open door for them to chart their own life without a tainting of someone else’s deeds, personality, or skills. 

I named my son Levingston Mauries.  His first name is from my great-grandfather, a man I loved and admired.  His middle name was from his father’s grandfather, whom he cherished.  But those two people were gone, and with them most of the memories of who they were.  There would not be another “Lev” in his life, and that was what I wanted for him.  And true to the path I desired, he has made the name his.  When we think of that name, we think of nothing else.  We think of his humor, his heart, his skills, and the love he has given us.

My daughter came 7 years later.  I had picked out three names for her: Madeline, Gabriella, and Isabella.  They were beautiful names that – at that time - were not popular.  Her middle name would be Grace, because I desired the grace God to be part of her life.  But we could not decide so I told Lev he could pick which one would be her name. 

When he first saw her, he chose Isabella.  But a few hours later he came to me in my hospital bed and quietly said “Mom, I don’t want to call her Isabella.  I want to call her Gabriella.”  And there you have it! Her name is Gabriella Grace.  She’s been known as Gabby since she was a toddler.  Is she a talker as the name implies? Not at all.  Gabby is somewhat reserved.  Has she made the name hers? Yes indeed!  The name Gabby now refers to her strong character, which is graceful, loving, somewhat quiet, full of thoughts and ambitions, and empathetic to others – especially old people and children. Yes, I can see God’s grace on her!

Even thought I wanted my children to have unique names that they could “fill”, I didn’t understand that the name Jesus was made precious in the same way.

Jesus came into this world special.  The name may or may not have belonged to others at that time.  But throughout His life, the name Jesus became many things. He “moved” into His name through his deeds towards others as a healer, and a savior.  He showed the name Jesus to be righteous indignation when throwing the money changers out of the temple.  He brought compassion to the name of Jesus when he shed tears at the tomb of Lazarus.  On the cross, and many times before He filled his name with mercy.  And at His death, he became the cornerstone of our faith, and a stumbling block to those who do not believe. His name is great, powerful, precious, divine, and so many other things because it is the title given to who He is. 

The word NAME as used in the Greek text of Acts 2:21 is based on the word onoma.  Strong’s defines it as “the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, for one's rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.”

The name Jesus isn’t a magical incantation, wizardly letters placed in a formula that causes miracles, healing, salvation, and inflicts fear on demons.  Taking it onto your prayer “in Jesus name” does not turn the wheels of heaven.  Instead, it is the BEING of Jesus Christ, all His works, all His feelings, all His love, and all His deeds.  Jesus, the name above every other name – because He has lived above all of us and sacrificed His life to free us.  

What a beautiful name!


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