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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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SWEETEST NAME ON MORTAL TONGUE

What's in a name? Shakespeare, in his most famous play Romeo and Juliet (1594), has Juliet say words the world has never forgotten: "What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." Was Juliet right? Do names really not matter? Occasionally we are reminded they do. Would you want to be named Lou Zer or Denise R. Nockin? How about Hedda Hare or Hedda Lettuce? Maybe Scott Free or Rufus Leaking? I found these names on the internet, and real or not, they prove the point — names matter, or at least they ought to. Here is a real name — Karen Permezel. Karen was a professional golfer who was from Yackandandah, Australia. Reporters found that to be a mouthful. So, according to a Sports Illustrated article, writers sometimes would ask Permezel exactly where the town was located. She was always happy to be of assistance. "It's near Mount Murramurrabong, not far from Tangambalanga," was her usual reply.

Do names matter to you? They matter to God. About 700 years before Christ came into this world to seek and save sinners, a great prophet wrote magnificent and stirring words about Him: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7). God did perform that when the eternal Word, co-existent and co-equal with God in the beginning, became flesh (John 1:1, 14). And according to Hebrews 1:4-5, when Jesus became flesh the Father gave Him a name that is above even the angels — "He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You'? And again: 'I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son'?" Jesus is not just a son of God, grand as that privilege is for us. He is THE Son of God! So be careful with the name of Jesus! Don't soil and drag it down by thoughtlessly using it in profane ways. Naida Hearn got it right when she wrote, "Jesus, name above all names: Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord. Emmanuel, God is with us, Blessed Redeemer, Living Word" (copyright 1974). An angel instructed the virgin Mary's husband Joseph to "call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). The same angel quoted Isaiah 7:14 which foretold, "Behold, a virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us.' " Another singer said, "Sweetest note in seraph song, Sweetest name on mortal tongue. Sweetest carol ever sung, Jesus, blessed Jesus" (William Hunter, chorus The Great Physician, 1859). Men may cloud the issue, but God has made Himself clear — Jesus Christ is the name above all names (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus — blessed Jesus. How much does that name matter to you?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ