…His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more… (Revelation 22:3b, 4, 5a)
My college advisor was famous for saying that “knowledge begins with the naming of a thing.” (Faculty, be encouraged! You also might be quoted forty years hence!) When something is accurately named, you know how to ask for and refer to it, how to use it, and what to expect from it. This experience is so embedded in our lives that we hardly consider it unless we are trying to communicate in another language.
The biblical function of the name of a person is equivalent to the person himself or herself. A name signifies personal worth, character, reputation, authority, will, and ownership (Jason Dulle). When God changes someone’s destiny (Abram to Abraham) or character (Jacob to Israel), God often changes their name as well.
Names are important to God. We are commanded not to take His name in vain (Exodus 20:7); that is, we are not to dishonor or disrespect God’s will, character, and purpose. And it is in the name of Jesus that we are baptized (Matthew 28:19), that we pray (John 14:13), and that we are saved (Romans 10:13).
Exploring the names of Jesus helps us know who He is, what he does, what He is entitled to, and what to expect from Him. Knowing His names reveals more facets in the precious jewel He is, unfolding fresh depths of meaning and trust. Truly in this relationship, to know Him is to love him. To love Him is to worship Him.
“Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Chris is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Let us prepare for and celebrate His first and second comings by considering several of those precious names!
Dr. Shawn Shannon, Baptist Student Ministry Director