One particularly vivid memory I have from my teenage years was the day some friends and I took a spontaneous bike trip to points north and west of our hometown of Millersport, Ohio. We did not ride bikes meant for highway travel; instead, we rode our motley collection of old Sting Rays, Murrays, and Schwinns on a circuit of at least 15 miles. While in the small neighboring village of Hebron, we stopped in the old Army surplus tent to have a look around. By mutual agreement, we all bought old army helmet liners and wore them for the duration of the trip. I won’t mention the crazy things we did that afternoon because…well…some things are better left to private memory rather than public disclosure (we didn’t do anything immoral, but we did push some legal boundaries!).
Later, my friends and I agreed we would paint and decorate those helmets in ways that reflected our own unique personalities. Part of the flair on the helmets would be the nicknames we had given each other during the years of our close friendships. Names like Snive, Waterfall, Crust, Bushog, Snick, Weldo, and Jughead still conjure up affectionate memories in my mind of my childhood buddies. My nickname was Glut. Everyone through my high school years called me Glut. Of the people who knew me, only teachers, my parents, and my girlfriend (now my wife Donna) called me by my first name.
Each nickname with which we christened our friends carried special significance. We all knew why we called Steve “Bushog” or Mike “Jughead.” Sometimes it was a play on the person’s real name, but in many cases the name given had something to do with a personal characteristic (typically a fault of some sort) or because of a particularly memorable event in the recipient’s life. Time nor space permit me to explain why a small fellow like me was called “Glut,” or why we named my friend Mark “Waterfall.” But the names stuck, and many of them are still permanently recorded on a big rock we used as a trophy in our annual “Turkey Bowl” Thanksgiving football game. Again, that’s another story for another time.
One person who, undeniably, has more names than any other in history is the Messiah God, our Lord Jesus Christ. And rightfully so! Here is just a partial list of some of the names given to Jesus in the Bible:
Son of God; Son of Man; Son of David; Word; Lamb of God; Christ; Savior; Rabbi; Teacher; Author of Life; Alpha and Omega; Lion of Judah; King of Kings; Lord of Lords; Bright Morning Star; Holy and Righteous; Head of the Church; Immanuel; Prince of Peace; Wonderful Counselor; Mighty God; Eternal Father
The Apostle Peter, while on trial for healing a man who was crippled from birth, made this proclamation about Jesus:
Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:10-12, ESV)
No other name…in another place the Apostle Paul states that “at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:10-11). Names come and names go. People throughout history have risen to prominence and then faded into relative obscurity. But at only one name will EVERYONE who ever lived bow and confess ultimate Lordship. You will be one of those people. Wouldn’t it be better to confess the name of Jesus now, willingly, instead of realizing when it’s too late that His name is, indeed, the name above all names?