Back to School night is an exciting time in the lives of teachers, parents and students. My preschool classroom was decorated and arranged so the children could find things easily. Families strolled up and down the halls. Happy voices filled the air as the teachers spoke with parents while the children explored their classrooms.
My four-year-old grandson, Mark, was enrolled in another classroom down the hall and I spied him walking into his room along with his mother.
At last the hour had come to leave for the night and one little girl called out to me, “I’ll see you in the morning, Miss Jennings!” I waved to her, then clicked the classroom lights off.
Mark ran up to me, his hands balled into fists and a scowl crossed his face. “I need to tell you something!” I answered, “Okay. I’m listening.”
“Well, that girl doesn’t know your name! She called you Miss Jennings, but your name is Grandma!”
Mark’s mama and I had a good chuckle as we explained to him that usually teachers had their students call them by their last name.
That evening at home I thought about Mark’s surprise over hearing my name. Names are important, not only to us, but to our great God. In Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV) “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run into it, and are safe.”
We find the many names of Jesus Christ and the names of God in the Bible. A few names we can find for Jesus are Savior, the Christ, Messiah, the Light of the World, the Holy One and The Son of Man. Other names for God are Father, Yahweh, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, The God of Glory, The Great I Am, Jehovah, our Refuge and The Most High.
I recalled that Saul of Tarsus had his name changed to Paul when he was on the road to Damascus. That story can be found in Acts 9:1-19. Saul lived in Jerusalem and was a Pharisee who was persecuting the early Christians. He was travelling to Damascus when he was struck by a great blinding light. When he cried out, asking who was there, Jesus spoke telling him what to do. During that time, Saul was converted and given the name of Paul. He became a follower of Jesus and eventually wrote many letters to the churches and to his friends.
Genesis chapter 17 tells the story of Abram and Sarai who were childless, but eventually at an elderly age they did have children. God made a covenant with Abram and told him he would be the father of many nations, then God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah.
Psalm 8: 1-4 says, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth. You have set Your glory above the heavens!” (NIV)
I thought of all the names that I am called. Besides my given name from my parents and all those pet names from my family and friends, Jesus calls me Daughter, A Child of God, Favored and Chosen.
Let us not forget that in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus directed us to pray, “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
Think about the importance of names. What names do you claim from Jesus and our Heavenly Father? And don’t forget to praise the name of the Lord in our songs and worship!
Disclaimer: I listed only a small portion of the names found in the Bible for Jesus and God. There are many more, search through the Bible and see what you find.
--Karen Jennings is a genealogist who writes nonfiction articles and fiction stories. She lives in Neosho MO. She also writes a devotional column for The Neosho Daily News.