What’s His Name?
I was honored to attend my 2nd cousin’s high school graduation ceremony. I was proud of the young man who overcame quite a bit of obstacles to achieve his high school diploma.
A woman was invited to be the guest motivational speaker. It was her message that began to spark thoughts in my mind which led to this blog.
The woman was running late and they rearranged the program to fit her tardiness. No blame here, we also hit that same traffic, but we left early enough to absorb the delay.
When she arrived, three valedictorians had given their speeches of overcoming the trials of life and the hope of a better future through education. One day I will blog about the God of Education, but not today.
She began to give her motivational speech and began to include the word God. “That voice you heard,” she said referring to a previous speech about a little voice inside ‘my head’. “That’s God. That’s the intuition that he gave you.” The speech was casual and more and more, she used the word God.
What’s His Name?
Then these words came into my head, “What’s His Name?”
Have you ever talked to a friend and you wanted to tell them about a person you knew or met and you just can’t get the name to appear in your head? You try and try but still, no name. So in frustration and in some vain attempt to get the name you say, “You know, what’s his name.”
Deep within my soul I kept saying those words, What’s His Name. When people use the word ‘God’ they can be talking about any God.
When Paul arrived at Athens in Acts 17 he was distressed to find the place was filled with many idols (gods):
7So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.
Some other philosophers chimed in and proclaimed that Paul was talking about some strange God, because he was preaching Jesus and the Resurrection (v8).
These philosophers were so curious about Paul that they brought him to their place of worship, the Areopagus. This meeting place on Mars Hill was a center for discussion, where people came and discussed all types of things pertaining to anything. A very early form of the talk-show.
22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD ‘ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
This scripture came to my mind as the speaker kept saying, ‘God’. I couldn’t help but feel that the more she said the word, God, the less I knew about the one she was talking about (the unknown God). I internally wanted her to finally come out and say, “This God I am talking about is named Jesus.”
So I began to wonder how certain Bible passages would sound, if I replaced the word God with “What’s His Name?” Genesis 1:1 In the beginning [What’s his name?] created the heavens and the earth.
Psalm16:1 Preserve me, O [What’s your name?], for I take refuge in You.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [What’s his name?], and the Word was [What’s his name?].
For any people reading this who are of the Christian faith I hope I haven’t offended you. It isn’t my purpose to change scripture but to help believers understand that when we say ‘God’, people do not, by default, understand who we are talking about. Just like those Athenians, they wanted to know more about this God that Paul was talking about.
Every God has a name, the Greeks at that time had many, but they also understood that they might be missing one, or two. So they built an altar and inscribed on it, “To an unknown God.” They in essence were covering all their bases. If they happened to miss a god, then they could make sure they covered it with this altar.
Back to the graduation ceremony, the woman continued (she is of moderate fame, so I will leave her name out). The crowded hotel ballroom was filled with people blurting out ‘Amen’s and cheering in agreement to her words.
The more I listened the more I realized she wasn’t talking about Jesus Christ. At first, the wording reflected a Christian upbringing, but her inspiration turned into self-worship. Her god was herself, she was god.
Let me explain.
Whenever someone tells you that ‘within you’ you have the power to do divine things and not attribute that divine power to the person of the Holy Spirit, they mean that the Self-god is present. The Bible calls this god, the flesh. The idea that you are capable of finding your own solutions, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, controlling your destiny, even creating your own reality.
Today, the Self-god is covered in layers of Bible language that makes you think they are talking about the God of the Bible, but they are not.
How can I be sure? For one, they don’t give this very capable god a name. They just call it ‘God’. The God of the Bible has many names to describe His attributes, but there is only one name given among men by which mankind can be saved, his name is Jesus (Acts 4:8-12).
If this motivational speaker, who listed many accomplishments to her name, had said the name Jesus, there would have been a difference to how the school administrators and politicians reacted. As long as she kept saying, ‘God’, then there was no problem because they knew that it could mean anything. Add the name Jesus and now there is trouble!
All this to say?
If you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead, then you are part of the family of God. Jesus is the name of our God as revealed in Scripture and we should not be ashamed to let the world know His name. By the way, Jesus’ name in the original Hebrew means, “The Lord is Salvation” or “God who Saves”.
Father in Heaven, help us to be able to speak the name of Jesus to those around us. Let us not be intimidated to proclaim this name, as Jesus said, if anyone is ashamed of Him before an adulterous and sinful people, then He will be ashamed of that person when He returns in His Father’s glory (Mark 8:38).