What’s in a name? Shakespeare said it wasn’t really important:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. -William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
But God prioritizes names. He equates them to one’s reputation—especially His own. God told Abram his name would be great (Genesis 12:2). Later, He changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning “He struggles with God” (Genesis 32:28). And repeatedly, the Psalmists praise God’s Name.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. –Psalm 29:2
Later, Peter heals a man just by saying Jesus’ name:
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” –Acts 3:6
And he insists before the Sanhedrin:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” –Acts 4:12
There’s power in one’s name—especially Jesus’.
Why do we get so embarrassed
when we forget someone’s name?
And identity. If names weren’t important, we wouldn’t get so embarrassed when we forget someone’s name, and it wouldn’t be so significant if we call someone by the wrong name. We also wouldn’t work so hard to pronounce names properly.
So what does it mean when someone remains nameless in the Biblical narrative? In particular, many people Jesus healed and some with whom He interacted often aren’t recognized by name. Continue reading