In our service for infant baptism, the liturgy requires the parents give the “Christian name” of the child. In some denominational traditions, baptism is being replaced by a “naming ceremony.” I think that is a misuse and misunderstanding of what happens in the sacrament of baptism. HOWEVER, I do think that our names are important.
In the Bible, names mean something – especially when God changes them. For example: Abram to Abraham (Exalted Father to Father of Many), Sarai to Sarah (Princess to MY Princess); Jacob to Israel (“to follow” to “wrestles with God”) and, Simon to Peter (“he has heard” to “rock”). These changes are made by God to enhance our understanding of the character of the person through their name change.
Jesus has many names. In the passage from Sunday, we learn several of them: Lamb of God, Rabbi, and Messiah. So, what do these names mean?
Lamb of God – Jesus is the Passover Lamb, the provided sacrifice led to the slaughter for human sinfulness, and the revered, heavenly Lamb in the book of Revelation.
Rabbi – Jesus is the ultimate teacher who told the disciples “come and see” what he is about.
Messiah – Jesus is the Messiah (Hebrew), the Christ (Greek), the Anointed One who came to save all of creation.
Our Savior is known by many names and He has given you a name.
What’s your name? Beloved of God, Disciple and Follower of Christ, Saved.