I love nicknames. Growing up I didn't like my name - Michelle. It seemed boring. So, whenever I got a nickname (which wasn't very often) I relished it. My childhood friend, Shelby, called me Ish. To my red-headed twin cousins, I was Mishka. My brothers called me Missy or Siss. My mom had a lot of nicknames for me. When I was little she used to call my Shelly-little-butt.... until I started calling her mommy-big-butt. She changed my nick-name to Shelly-Belly after that. My favorite nickname of all is one that my mother uses now. She calls me Love.
The nicknames are fun and creative. But the real reason I loved nicknames was that I knew it was more than just a name, it was a term of endearment. It was a way to share how someone felt about me without having to say it.It is an indicator of the level of a relationship, where there is love, affinity and concern for the person. Whenever I was called by a nickname, I felt loved (still do.)
I wonder if that is why Jesus has so many names? Jesus, Bread of Life, Cornerstone, God, Jehovah, Rock, Lamb of God, Exemplar, Creator, Good Shepherd, Light of the World and Savior just to name a few. Do you suppose it is because He means so many things to so many people?
To the Savior, his names are more than names. They have meaning. And, when we use them, it should be a token of our acceptance of Him, our love for Him, and our understanding of His role in our lives.
In Luke, 5:46, the Jesus teaches the importance of that relationship when he asks the question, "And why call ye me, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
When we call Jesus our Exemplar, our Shepherd, and our Savior, we should acknowledge our role as one needing to be guided, to be shepherded and needing to be saved. Our actions should plainly manifest our feelings for Him.
If we really do call him "Lord" then should not follow Him and do the things that He says? Should we not believe that He is?
When Jesus was being question by Pilot, He again showed that a name is more just a name. Pilate called to Jesus and said unto him, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus could have answered yes. But, rather, he answered him, "Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?" In other words, 'Do you believe that I am the King of the Jews, and not just called so?'
As we call upon His name, let us remember that it is more that just a name- it is our testimony of who He is. He is our Judge, the Light of the World, the Firstborn, our Advocate, the Christ, and the Messiah.
Whenever I write to my dad, whether in email or a letter, I never sign the name 'Michelle.' I always sign "Your Daughter." I asked him once if he wondered why I did that or even noticed it before. I told him that for me it was another way of acknowledging my love for him as my father. It was more than just a title or a name at the end of the letter, it represented my pride, love and gratitude for being his daughter.
As we take His name upon ourselves we take on other names as well - Disciple, Follower, Pupil, Saved. Let our actions give meaning to the names we now have. Our works should reflect our love and devotion to Him. Let us show Him that we, too, know that there is more than just a name.