December 15, 2015

What’s In a Name?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV2011)

When you look through the Bible, you’ll find some unusual names. For example, Abraham had a couple of nephews named Uz and Buzz! Seriously? Then, in the New Testament, you’ll meet a few guys whose parents must have lacked some imagination. They named their kids Secundus, Tertius and Quartus. Maybe they planned on a bunch of kids. Secundus means number two; Tertius is number three and you guessed it, Quartus is number four! Perhaps, they thought it would be easier to keep track of them.

Typically, though, names in Biblical times carried great significance. They pictured the future that parents hoped for their child or, even, one that God had destined for them. When Joseph was told about Mary’s child before He was born, the Angel said to call Him Jesus, the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua which means The Lord saves. Just as Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, Jesus would lead His people into eternal life! That life begins the moment we receive Him as Savior!

Isaiah gives us some more insight about this Savior through the five additional names He is given in Isaiah 9:7. He tells us that Jesus would be called Wonderful – that name in Hebrew can also be translated as Secret and Amazing, a name beyond our understanding! There is a Divine mystery to His name that no man can know fully! He is Wonderful! His name is Wonderful!

Isaiah also calls Him, Counselor. He never sought the counsel of man. He never called His disciples together and asked them what to do. God has never been caught off guard or confused about what to do. He has no counselor! As Paul considered the wisdom of God, he concluded,

Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are His wisdom and knowledge and riches! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His methods! For who among us can know the mind of the Lord? Who knows enough to be His counselor and guide? Romans 11:33-34 (TLB) 

Isaiah also calls Him Mighty God! The Hebrew meaning for this name is “all power is given.”  Theologians refer to this as omnipotence. He is the omnipotent God! That little baby lying helpless on Mary’s bosom held the universe together! Before Jesus would ascend to Heaven at the end of His earthly ministry, He told His disciples, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and earth…” He is the Mighty God!

But not only is Jesus the Mighty God, He is also the Everlasting Father! He is both powerful and personal! Through Jesus, we get to call Him “Abba, Father!” Abba is an Aramaic term of filial intimacy. It’s how a child would address his dad with loving confidence and affection. In Galatians 4:5-6 the Bible says, 

God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”   

The very one who came to save us from our sins is an Everlasting Father who will never abandon us!

Isaiah’s final name for Jesus is Prince of Peace. There can be no peace on Earth until He is reigning. This Sunday of Advent represents peace. Jesus doesn’t just give us something called peace, He is our Peace! The Bible says we have peace with God through faith in Jesus. Have you experienced that peace? You can. Open your heart to Christ today and experience real peace!