Daily Devotions
 
Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

What’s in a Name?

My legal name is Larry. It is not a nickname for Lawrence – a name my mother disliked – but rather “Larry.” 

I truly never understood why I was given this name. It’s not the name of any ancestor on either side of the family nor any famous person with whom my mother may have been enamored. Yes, my older brother accused me of looking like Larry Fine of The Three Stooges fame, but I trust my mother did not name me after him or any other celebrity named Larry. For whatever reason, mom simply liked the name. Dad agreed.

I never liked my name very much even though it’s derived from a word meaning “laurel crowned one” and having to do with the award given to the winners of ancient Olympic games, which is cool. It is more something I have endured. My teen years were made a bit more bearable when friends dubbed me “Preach,” since I had inclinations even back then to become a pastor. Most everyone in my group was given a nickname having to do with a physical or personality trait. There was Bobo, Camel, and Eagle Beak. (Use your imagination!) By comparison, Preach isn’t all that bad. Come to think of it, even Larry isn’t all that bad compared other names I’ve been called.

A boy born in Bethlehem around 4 BCE was given the Hebrew name Yeshua, or Joshua in English. It means “Yaweh is salvation” and was a common name given to boys throughout Israel’s history, not the least of whom became a famous prophet. But we are concerned with this boy born in Bethlehem. The Greek form of his name is Ἰησοῦς, from which we get the Latin form: Jesus.

Jesus was given many nicknames both during and even after his life on earth, including: Emmanuel (God with us); the Word; Good Shepherd; King of Kings; Lamb of God; Master; Son of David; Son of Man; and, Son of God. We also know him as Messiah, Hebrew for “Anointed One,” or “Christ,” which is the Greek version of Messiah. We are bold to proclaim he is the one through whom we are forgiven our sin and receive the promise of life with God now and forever.

Interestingly, this Jesus has given you and me some nicknames. I’ll be sharing thoughts about four of them during the rest of this week. Believe me, they are much better than Eagle Beak or Preach! In the meantime, think about “what’s in a name?”

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Prayer: Gracious God, in the waters of baptism, you name us as your children. Grant us grace this week to hear your word, take it into our hearts, come to love you more dearly, and be what you name us so in order to bear Jesus’ name into the world. Amen

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