What's In a Name?

by Robert H. Spain

My middle name is Hitchcock. My mother’s maiden name was Hitchcock and the name was about to become extinct. Guess who got it! It’s all right. Now my grandson is the carrier of the name. Some names are fashioned to reflect family identification.

How do you suppose your parents chose your name? What went on in their minds when they arranged several letters of the alphabet that would socially and legally identify you throughout your life? Did you look like a “Mary” or a “Helen” or a “Marvin” or a “Fred”?

Some names are chosen because of their meaning:

David means beloved.

Sara means princess.

Joshua means rescues.

Esther means star.

Pablo Picasso is a well-known name. His full name was “Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso.”

Where do you think that name came from and what is its meaning?

There is another well-known name. For many of us it is the name above all names. We sing about it:

“His name is wonderful…Jesus.”

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! There’s just something about that name!”

In the Gospel of Matthew, an Angel of the Lord came to Joseph: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife…she will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus.”

It’s interesting that Jesus gave several personal expressions of who he was. He used ordinary things to explain himself – a door, a shepherd, and a light.

In Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Once they have told what they have heard, he then asked, “…who do you say that I am?”

Throughout his life, Jesus carried many identifications. But the question Jesus asked of the disciples up at Caesarea Philippi is the important one.

Who do you say that I am?


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