What's in a Name?

by Donald Raub

Without a doubt, the name "Jesus" is the most controversial name in the world. It is the only name outlawed in the classroom of the public school. While its use is permitted as a curse word in the workplace, any other use of it can be considered harassment.

The fact that so many people are offended by the name "Jesus" provides credible evidence that it must be more than just a name. Such names as John, Elizabeth, James, Ruth, or Esther—all biblical names—cause no embarrassment and are offensive to no one. Why, of all the names in the world, is the name Jesus so despised by modern-day cultures?

I believe there are three reasons why the name "Jesus is avoided and sometimes hated:

 I. Because of Its Meaning

Jesus, being the Greek form of Joshua, means Savior. The angel proclaimed: "You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). Since some of us do not want to admit any need of a savior, we hesitate to recognize that one exists, for fear that people will think we need saving. I have news for you: we do! We are all drowning in a "sea of sin" until Jesus, the Savior, rescues us.

 II. Because of the Person

Jesus is the personification of perfection. He is the light that dispels the darkness. But, "Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). To be saved, we must be willing to come out of darkness and step into the light of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul told King Agrippa that Jesus came to "Turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may have forgiveness of sins..." (Acts 26:18).

 III. Because of Its Exclusivity

The Apostle Peter said, "There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). The gospel of saving grace is offered to all who will believe, but all must come through Jesus Christ. All the apostles gave their lives to uphold the name of Jesus. Angels said: "This same Jesus shall come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Like it or not, we will all someday bow before Jesus and confess that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

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