Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011 … Christ’s New Name

Passage of the Day: Philippians 2: 9 – 11 [see highlight passage in bold/underlined] … 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, 10 that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

My Journal for Today: Names in the 1st century and even earlier in the middle-eastern historical cultures, in what we might refer to as “Old Testament times,” were important designators of character; and changes in name, especially from persons of authority, were almost like titles of promotion or affirmation from the one who renamed a given person.

Think of how God renamed Abram to become “Abraham;” or when The Lord, God, renamed Jacob to be “Israel.” Jesus renamed Simon, the fisherman, to be “Peter” to designate whom Christ knew Peter would become in God’s kingdom. Certainly Simon, the impulsive, foot-in-the-mouth fisherman, who denied Jesus three times, would not be recognized at the time he bolted and ran in the garden to be “Peter,” the rock of faith who would become the steady foundation for those of faith in early Christendom. But Christ knew the character which would be reflected in the name “Peter,” and so our Lord had renamed Simon to be “Peter,” the man who would one day be transformed into one of the foundational pillars of His Church.

If I may personalize this discussion a bit [as humbly as I can], at birth I was named “William” by my parents. I’ve since learned that my given name comes from the Germanic origin of “Wilhelm,” which in two parts means “wil,” referring to will or desire and “helm,” which refers to a helmet or protection. This name, therefore in other cultures, came to refer to “conqueror” or “protector/leader” and was given to such a legendary leader as William, the Conqueror, the first peasant king of England. There was also William Wallace, the legendary Scottish rebel leader, and William Tell, the legendary 14th Century Swiss hero and warrior; and finally there was William of Orange, the famous Dutch hero/leader. Certainly, however, as I was living my early life, deeply into the dualism of hidden sexual sin, one would have never thought my name might reflect the transformed character who would one day lead a ministry like Battle Plan Ministry. Obviously God knew something about how my name would mean something more for His purposes later in my life.

Really, I find it fascinating that God would inspire my parents to dub me “William” at birth and then through a wondrous set of circumstances, I would become one whom God would lead to conquer the will of sin in my life and to ultimately lead a ministry for those who desire to likewise conquer their own self-will and live lives as conquerors in freedom from the will of the flesh. This happened because I, “William,” was willing to surrender my “will” to God’s “protection,” which is the definition of the name I was given at birth. Go figure!

Well, in today’s passage (Phil. 2: 9 – 11), we read that God, The Father, renamed Jesus upon His exaltation, giving Him a Name that was above every other name. John MacArthur, in today’s Strength for Today devotional, points out that many in reading verse 10 (see above) of today’s passage assume that this special Name given to Christ by God, The Father, was “Jesus.” However, if this were the case, this would not be a change of names. He was already named “Jesus.” No, … a careful reading of the text reveals that Jesus’ exalted new Name upon His re-glorification was “Lord.” Verse 11 clearly exposes that the exalted Christ, once re-glorified and re-coronated, would henceforth be called “Lord” by all in Heaven and should be that to all of us who live on earth. This Name, “Lord,” which is “Kurios” in the Greek, is defined from the Greek as “God, the Messiah.” And that Name, “Lord,” for Jews would be “Y@hovah,” … the supreme God … the great “I Am.” As verse 11 declares above, no other Name can reflect glory upon God, The Father, as does ”Lord;” and it is the Name to which we should give our Savior, reflecting best His character and glory to all who Know Him.

To me this is such exciting stuff, especially contemplated here at Christmas, as we reflect upon our LORD during the Advent season. But stay tuned, there’s even more.

My Prayer Today: As my Savior, You are my LORD forever! Amen

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