What’s in a Name?

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Christian living
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s in a name?  Several years ago, I remember reading an article about the oddities of names linked with people’s professions.

Goforth and Ketchem were police officers.  Will Deal was a car salesman.  Will Burn & Frizzle  were executed in Florida by the electric chair. Will Drop was a Montreal window washer died by accident.  Joe Bunt was a baseball player. Dan Druff was a barber. O’Neill & Pray sold church equipment.  Flick Ashe worked at a tobacco plant.  Dr. Cutright was a gifted surgeon. Beth Newhouse = real estate agent. P P Peters was a urologist.  And so on…

Names are significant.  In early history, a person was DEFINED by their name.  It carried deep meaning and stood for something, good or bad.

In some of the oldest parts of the Bible, we see names and their significance:

Genesis 21:5-7 (NIV) 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac (laughter) was born to him. 6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

1 Chronicles 4:9 (NIV) 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez (caused pain), saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.”

Isaiah 7:14 (NIV) 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (God with us).

What does your name mean?   Have you researched your history? I was fortunate enough to have a namesake with a great story.  I was named after my dad’s best friend Dennis McKinney.  He was a missionary to the Philippines. He and his family started over 150 churches in the surrounding islands.  Unfortunately, Dennis was taken home to be with the Lord at the young age of 50, but his family continues their work there to this day.  That motivates me!

Because our first 3 kids were beautiful little girls, I decided let my wife name our daughters.  When we adopted our son, we agreed that I’d get to name him. I had several years to think about it, so I wanted to choose a name of Biblical significance.

We allowed his birthmom to choose his middle name and she selected “Josiah”. 

Here’s what the Bible says about him:

2 Kings 22:1-2 (NIV) 1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

2 Kings 23:24-25 (NIV) 24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did–with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

I chose the name “Ezekiel”.  Here’s what the Bible says about him:

Ezekiel 2:3-8 (NIV) 3 He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen–for they are a rebellious house–they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Ezekiel Josiah Bloodworth.  Wow! That’s a pretty lofty calling!  Our hope is not our son Zeke will feel the weight of the pressure of his name, but that he’ll be inspired by it. I want him to know that he is part of a great story and a rich history. He belongs to an awesome “fraternity” of believers!

But wait… there’s more!  Did you know that if you are a Christian and you go to church, your “names” also hold great meaning?

Here are some other facts about the names we carry:

1. The name “Christian” is significant. Broken down, it literally means “Christ-In-You”. Carry that name proudly.  Be inspired by it.  I hope we can live up to our name.  Jesus went to great lengths to give us that name, in fact.  Here’s what the Bible says about it:

Ephesians 1:3-7 (NIV) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…”

Do you understand the gravity of this passage?  He “chose” us.  This says that before the world was even created, we were part of God’s redemptive plan through his Son Jesus Christ.  He “adopted” us. This means we “receive an inheritance (heaven) we didn’t deserve”.  He created us to “holy & blameless”.  Sin gets in the way, but God made a way for us to join him in heaven.  He has “freely given” us grace. We didn’t earn it. He gave it to us!  When you receive Jesus Christ into your life and unite with him in baptism, you are a Christian. Now let’s live like it!

2. Furthermore, even the name “church” is significant.  We get the name “church” from the greek word “ekklesia” which means “Called Out Ones”.  Wow!  Does that change your perception of the church? Our mission? What Jesus calls us to do?  People have a tendency to think that the church is a little group of huddled people meeting in a shelter trying to escape the bombardments of the world.  But Jesus had other ideas. Look at these passages:

Matthew 11:12 (NIV) 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

Matthew 16:18 (NIV) 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Do you understand the magnitude of that message?  The gates of Hell.  These pictures show that the church is on the offensive. The church is on the attack. The church has Satan on the run!  He is holed up in his castle, huddled against our bombardment.  He is fighting a battle he cannot win, against an army he cannot repel, in a war he will ultimately lose.  His days are numbered and he knows it.

If you’re a Christian and you go to church. Carry your names proudly.  You are not weak. You are not timid. You belong to the fiercest fighting force in the world. You belong to a leader with limitless love. You belong to a name with no fear!

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV) 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What’s in your name?


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Comments
  1. Michael McKinney says:

    I loved the post. Thank you for carrying on a good name. I too have an adopted son named Ezekiel.

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