What’s In a Name

craig-murrayWhat’s in a name? Last month, as Christmas approached, I was re-reading Matthew’s account of the Christmas story and was drawn to the significance of the names the angel instructed Joseph to give to Christ.

In naming our kids, Laura and I gave far more emphasis to whether we liked the sound of a particular name than its specific meaning. My own name means “dweller on a crag.” Having never dwelled on a crag, nor possessing any aspirations to do so, I am pretty sure that my parents picked my name for largely aesthetic reasons as well.

But in the Bible names have far greater significance. They tell a story or portend a future. Matthew takes care to draw the reader’s attention to two names for Our Lord – Jesus and Emmanuel. Literally they mean “Yahweh Saves” and “God with us.”

There is significant connection between these two names. Our Lord is the God that saves by being with us. Think of that truth. God is not a distant sovereign waving His hand to forestall impending disaster. No, our sin was too grievous and His nature too loving to permit such a plan.

We needed a champion to do for us what we could not – a champion from among us to stand in our place. No mere human champion would be sufficient, so in order to save us God became one of us. The very names of our Lord describe the miracle of the Incarnation. He embodied our frailty and received the death we deserved so that we might receive His never-ending Life and perfect fellowship with God.

More than that, He invites us to be with Him in His work of salvation by sharing with others this Good News. As we incarnate our lives and ministry among others, we imitate Jesus. As we walk among the hurting, the hopeless and lost we have the privilege of sharing that “Yahweh Saves.”

This is what CMI is all about. With the help of friends like you we equip and “incarnate” dynamic local churches into the strategic hearts of these cities – churches that are permanently with their people and continually proclaiming the Good News that God saves!

Thank you for partnering with us to see nations discipled for Jesus Christ.