What’s In a Name?


As I contemplated what to write about this morning, I asked the Father again to speak to me. What spoke to me was Jesus’ Words in John 17 about His name. What’s In a Name? That questions is answered in part in John 17. The world is replete with examples about whats in a name. There are websites and philosophies dedicated to telling people what their name means. Famed sociologist Henry Louis Gates Jr. has a series, Finding Your Roots, on PBS about What’s In a Name?

In a writing about one episode, Dr. Gates states “I always ask a guest what it is they would most like to learn about their roots. In Geoffrey Canada’s, case, he said that he knows nothing about his father’s line and this lack of knowledge has haunted him for most of his life. Tomorrow, I have the extraordinary pleasure of being able to give him this gift: the knowledge of his father’s ancestors, back into the deep recesses of slavery, and possibly beyond. He will learn that his name is not his ancestor’s original name, though it is close. And that his ancestors even took a third name before settling on “Canada.””

In regards to the inquiry or impact about What’s In a Name?, Shakespeare wrote

“‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.” (2.2.38-49)

Even I have posted a number of times about the word name. Once again, I do so today. What’s In a Name? In John 17, Jesus shares with us an important fact about His name.

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

We see Jesus’ commentary on What’s In a Name? in verses 11 and 12. There is power in His name. There is unity or oneness in His name. There is protection and safety in His name. Have you called on the name of God, the name of Jesus to protect and keep you? Have you called on the name of Jesus to save you? What’s In a Name? Everything you need for life eternal. There is no denying that names make a difference in this world, but there is no greater name than Jesus. Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Jesus’ name is a name that you should know, call upon, and trust in. What’s In a Name? Your protection, safety and salvation. Could it be any greater than that? Call upon His name.

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