Everyone has a name. My name is Charles Elliott Larsen. The last name is obvious. It came from my father’s last name. I’m confident you understand this tradition. My middle name, “Elliott,” has a link to the past as well. Elliott was the last name of my maternal great-grandfather. My first name comes from my father. I’m Junior! You can look up names to find the dictionary meanings also. My name, Charles, means manly, courageous, and brave! There have been a few rare incidents in my life where I felt I lived up to that name, but not very often. I can recount more times when I failed. The only time my mother called me “Charles” was when she was mad at me. I knew I had been found out. I had not been brave, courageous, or manly at all, and I’d come with my head hung in shame. My wife’s name is “Kathy,” which comes from the word for “clean” or “pure.” She lives up to her name a lot better than I live up to mine. She got her name simply from the fact that her parents liked that name.

“In Scripture, names of people and places often have meaning. OT verses where such is the case are listed along with the appropriate meaning. Translators may transliterate names, transliterate with a footnote, transliterate with an explanatory, “which means,” transliterate with the meaning in parenthesis, or translate the meaning of the name.”[1] But when Jesus was named, it came directly from God and had a direct relationship with what his life mission would be. It came directly from God via the angel Gabriel. Matthew 1:21 says, She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

 The Angel told Joseph what to name the baby: “Jesus.” He would be given this name because he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus means “salvation.” There are no inconsistencies with Jesus and his name like those with me and my name. Acts 4:12 tells us that he is the only savior. It says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” When Jesus, the only savior, saves, he saves completely. Hebrews 7:25 tells us, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him since he always lives to make intercession for them.”  Further, we must not miss the fact that his complete, “to the uttermost” salvation is a personal, individual salvation that will never fail us. There will never be a time when His salvation is inconsistent. It’s always thorough and complete. Romans 10:9-10 tells us, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It doesn’t say “you might be” saved.  Unlike me, Jesus is always consistent in living up to his name. No one who believes in Jesus will be disappointed. The Romans passage goes on to say, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Another verse, 1 John 5:13 (one of my favorites), explains the certainty that comes from trusting Jesus to fulfill the definition of his name. It says, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the son of God so that you will know that you have eternal life.”

[1] Sailer, William, J. Creighton Christman, David C. Greulich, Harold P. Scanlin, Stephen J. Lennox, and Phillip Guistwite. 2012. Religious and Theological Abstracts. Myerstown, PA: Religious and Theological Abstracts.