by J. Gerald Harris

The Name Above Every Name
Gerald Harris
Philippians 2:5-11

Shakespeare asks the question, "What's in a name?" It's a good question. Did you know that up until about the 1100s most people only had one name? It was only beginning in about 1100 that we started talking about surnames or second names. The Bible gives one name to people, and often identifies people by their parentage. For example, in the Bible it is Abraham the son of Terah; it is Moses the son of Amram; it is Joshua the son of Nun; and it is David the son of Jesse.

You see, in the culture in which Jesus lived, and the culture in which Jesus was named, names had significance. In other words, a child was to live out the name that he was given. The names had rich, significant meanings.

Today names really do not mean very much to us. Have you ever thought about some of the most common names in America? For example, there are thousands upon thousands of Jim Smiths in America. It's a good name, but it's a very common name. And I understand that there is a Jim Smith Club in America with over 50,000 people registered in the club.

Every year they meet out in Las Vegas. And one of the highlights of the Jim Smith Convention is a softball game in which everyone participating is named Jim Smith. Even the umpires are named Jim Smith. They get a big kick out of announcing each batter by saying, "And now coming to the plate is Jim Smith." And, of course, every batter is Jim Smith, and every fielder is Jim Smith.

Now, a name is important, and it saddens me to think about the loss of the significance of names.

But did you know that even the publicity agents of the Hollywood movie stars realize the importance of a good name? Through the years, many of the Hollywood stars have not kept the names they were originally given. For example, consider the name Fred Astaire. That sounds like a good Hollywood name. It is just a stage name. His name originally was Frederick Austerlitz. Jack B ...

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