“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
In spite of the sentiment in those words, the truth is that we are people, not plants, and our names carry great significance. Someone once said…
“The sweetest sound on earth is your own name spoken tenderly by a friend.”
A Good Name
In biblical times, a person’s name directly indicated his character. If we explore the pages of the Hebrew Bible, we find that the Hebrew word for “name” is shem, the name also given to one of Noah’s sons. This word comes from a root word meaning “to set a mark.”A child was often named according to something that “marked” the child.
Many times a name would become synonymous with fame, renown, and heroic reputation, such as in the case of David. God Himself blessed the name of David, saying,
“I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth.” (2 Samuel 7:9 NKJV)
Unfortunately, a name can also come to represent evil. After years of being under the rule of a fiendish queen whose wickedness caused heartache in the land of the chosen people, few Jewish families consider the name Jezebel for their baby girls!
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us, a Son is given…
And His name shall be called Wonderful…
Wonderful! Isaiah began his description with this word that comes from the Hebrew people, which refers to supernatural power, something that cannot be explained in terms of human planning.
A great evangelist of the 1900’s was a man named Rodney “Gypsy” Smith. Until his death in 1947, having ministered all over the world, he maintained a glow and an excitement about Jesus that were infectious. One day he was asked how he stayed so fresh in his life and preaching. He replied…
I never lost the wonder!
Gypsy Smith couldn’t get over the wonder of being touched by the God of the universe through the salvation given by Jesus. He often said, “I didn’t go through colleges and seminaries. They wouldn’t have me… but I have been to the feet of Jesus.”
So how about you?
Have you been to the feet of the baby in the manger who became the Savior of the world? Have you stood, as the shepherds and kings of old, in awe at the wonder of the One called Wonderful? If not, this Christmas season is a great time to start! What better gift to give to the One Whose birthday we celebrate that your own heart and life.
— adapted, in part, from the chapter Call Him Wonderful by Ron Phillips from the compilation book, The Spirit of Christmas (©1999 Thomas Nelson Publishers)