NAME / NAMING
The Bible has high significance with the name. It identifies one person from another. The Hebrews considered a person’s name as equivalent to that person signifying his worth, character, reputation, authority, will, or ownership. In the Bible, the name of a person stands for that individual (Rev 3:4), and the name of the Lord stands for God or Jesus himself (Prov 16:10, Ps 18:49; 86:12; Mal 3:16; Mt 10:22; 19:29; Jn 3:18).
Name that stands for a person had different significance in the Bible:
1) To forget God’s name was equal to deviating from Him (Jer 23:37).
2) To name something showed one’s ownership of that person or thing (Gen 1:5, 8, 10; 2:19-20; 2 Sam 12:28; Amos 9:12).
3) To speak or write in one’s name shows authority (Ex 5:23; 1 Kgs 21:8).
4) To act in someone’s name was to represent that person (Deut 25:6).
5) To blemish someone’s name is to destroy that person (Deut 9:14; 2 Kgs 14:27; Isa 14:22; Rev 3:5).
6) Name signified a person’s reputation (Mk 6:14; Rev 3:1), and his character (Eccl 7:1; Mt 6:9).
7) Christ revealed the Father’s name, meaning that He has made God known to humanity (Jn 17:26).
8) To believe in the name of Christ is to believe in the person of Christ (Jn 1:12; 2:23).
9) To gather in Jesus’ name is to gather in His mind, will, and purpose (Mt 18:20).
IN THE NAME OF JESUS
At the Last Supper discourse, Jesus told the apostles, “whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (Jn 14:13). When the disciples ask anything in Jesus’ name, they do it with the power of Jesus that he entrusted to them. Hence the Christians start and end the prayers in the name of Jesus, the Lord. However, the prayers in Jesus’ name should have the spirit of Jesus’ prayer at the garden of Gethsemane: “not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:39).
NAMING BY GOD
Normally the parents name their children. In exceptional cases, like in the case of John the Baptist or Jesus, God named the child before conception. In such cases, the Divine Father named such children making them God’s special children born of human parents. Those children had some extraordinary mission from God.
Examples of naming by God before the birth are: Ishmael (Gen 16:11), Isaac (Gen 17:19), Jezreel (Hos 1:4), Lo-Ruhamah (Hos 1:6), Lo-Ammi (Hos 1:9), Jesus (Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31) and John (Lk 1:13). God might have named Adam.
There are cases when God changed the names of special people: Abram to Abraham (Gen 17:5), Sarai to Sarah (Gen 17:15), Jacob to Israel (Gen 32:29; Gen. 35:10), Solomon to Jedidiah (2 Sam 12:24-25), and Simon to Peter (Mt 16:17-18).
At the time of our baptism, the celebrant officially named us on behalf of God. That is a sign of our covenantal relationship with God when He made us His own. Let us study our baptismal patron saint and imitate the saint’s virtues in our lives.