So, you are having a baby! O happy day! Once you get past the shock, it’s time to name the baby. There may be historical family names that are expected. Or, you may want to do something entirely new. Some baby names are gender neutral. But, other names are gender specific. Like Bubba. I have never met a girl named Bubba. Have you?
According to the Social Security Administration, some of the currently popular names for girls are Emma, Olivia, Ava, and Sophia. For boys, the names most often given are Noah, Liam, William, Mason, and James. Many children have been named after movie stars, sports figures, exotic places, animals, and things, like automobiles.
Sometimes, parents combine their names and create an entirely new name. One acquaintance was named Oren. His wife was named Loretta. They named their daughter Oretta. Beautiful! On another occasion, the father’s name was Ben. So, they named their boy “Benson.” Get it?
Recently, there was a news article featuring the unusual names of freshman college athletes that were recruited out of high school. Here are a few: Jet Toner (Stanford/kicker), Messiah deWeaver (Michigan/QB), Nigel Warrior (Tennessee/safety), Jango Glackin (Northwestern/linebacker), Jawon Pass (Louisville/QB), and Eddie McDoom (Michigan/Wide Receiver). Can you imagine seeing McDoom coming at you at blazing speed?
In the Bible, many names had deep meaning. Here are a few examples:
Ichabod = Without glory (1 Samuel 4:21)
Christ = The Anointed One (Matthew 1:1)
Abiel = God is my Father (1 Samuel 9:1)
Deborah = Bee (Genesis 35:8)
Abraham = Father of a multitude (Genesis 17:5)
Golgatha = Place of the skull (Matthew 27:33)
Throughout the Bible, God did not miss an opportunity to make a point or underscore a truth. The use of a powerful name, told a story with a single word. Just hearing the name of “Satan,” or “Jezebel,” or “Judas,” brings many horrible thoughts to mind.
Consider what the angel said to Joseph in Matthew 1:23, “You shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” The name Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Jeshua [yasha] or “Joshua.” The word Joshua means “Jehovah is generous” or “Jehovah saves.” Isn’t it interesting that Joshua served at the right hand of Moses, even as Christ sits at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20)? Bible study is fun!
The Hebrew word “savior” [moshiah] finds its roots in in the word Jeshua [yasha]. There is a powerful lesson in the naming of the baby Jesus. Knowing these truths will help us to better understand Acts 4:12, “There is salvation [yeshua] in no one else; for there is no other name under Heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved [yasha].”
As we approach Christmas, remember that God had the event planned from the beginning of time. No detail was an accident. It is all a part of the most wonder Story ever told. May I encourage you to find someone who has not heard the story of Jesus, and share the details. It will amaze them, too.