by: Marty Paluch
If you’re an Astros fan, perhaps you’re drinking more orange juice these days – particularly Minute Maid Orange Juice. In 2002 the Coca-Cola subsidiary sealed a $178 million deal for the right to name the ballpark. Talk about the power of a name!
Our names are considered a critical component in our psychological and mental health. They shape our identity and sometimes our destiny. I wonder if Art’s mom and dad knew he’d be a picture hanger when he grew up or if Bob’s parent’s envisioned him owning a buoy factory! Probably not, but the joke was too good to pass up.
From creation, the one in authority over the named held naming rights. God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. He named the first human Adam (mankind) and Adam named the first woman Eve (mother of all living). Because Adam and Eve were extended dominion (authoritative care and nurture) over creation, they named all the animals and the rest of creation.
Occasionally, God trumps the parents’ naming rights and gives them the name to use for their newborn. Zacharias and Elizabeth weren’t given a choice. John (graced by God) the Baptist caused not a little stir amongst the relatives when Dad broke with tradition. Mary and Joseph were told very clearly their very extraordinary child was not to be a Willie or a Sam, but Jesus, meaning ‘God Saves’.
Jesus was a common name in the day, but this was not a common Jesus. This Jesus was going to embody His name’s meaning like no one ever had or ever will.
Through His life, death and resurrection Jesus holds the power and the promise of salvation for all who trust and believe He lived (and died) up to His name. By His sacrifice Jesus bought re-naming rights for us.
Because of the power of Jesus’ name, we take on new names as His followers. Our identity is spiritually reformed when we come to faith and Jesus dwells in us and lives through us. From ‘Sinner’ to ‘Saint’, from ‘Fallen’ to ‘Free’ from ‘Lost’ to ‘Found’ we now have new names even a John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt shares proudly and boldly.
The name of Jesus is the most powerful name in the universe because it is the only name by which we are given access to the life God intended for us from the dawn of time.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11