Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. – Phillipeans 2:9-11
What is in a name? Everything. Our name is a very important indicator of who we are. Several years ago it was very fashionable to find out what your name means and the origin of that name.
For example, Barbara means dark stranger, and comes from names given to the Barbarians. Specifically the web tells us that Barbara is from the Greek barbaros meaning foreign or strange, traveler from a foreign land. Popular in medieval Britain after the 3rd century martyr St Barbara. In Catholic custom St. Barbara is a protectress against fire and lightning.
And yet another internet site lists the meaning as: This name means “foreign”, but understandably when applied only in the Greek context, refers to anyone who does not speek Greek. There was a Christian martyr named Saint Barbara, who was the patroness of engineers and architects. The name reached such great heights of popularity in the 19th to 20th centuries that today, it remains strongly identified with that particular era. Today, the name is well associated with Barbra Streisand, an extremely successful singer-entertainer.
It is unclear if the name defines the person, or the person learns to be defined by the name. But thanks be to God that His Name is beyond what we will understand or know. He is not defined by human wisdom, nor is He limited by the wisdom of man. His name, his very reputation, is beyond anything we can imagine. His power is above that of the most powerful person who has ever lived, and his wisdom is greater than the most intelligent person on earth.
The passage above is a portion of what is known as the Kenosis. It is a “high water mark” when it comes to the character and mission of Jesus. Jesus, fully God, came down, and relinquished his divine power, and capabilities to live as a man. This emptying of himself and limiting himself is regarded as one of the most defining characteristics of our great God. It has challenged everyone who took the time to soak in the thought. If I were all powerful would I step out of my perfection, and put on the rags of humanity, give up the power and glory, and veil it for a season so that I could understand and know the sufferings and trials of humans? Someone once wrote about this and used a more modern day example of a septic tank. Would i be willing to step into the horrendous stench and dirt of a septic tank, if it were to have an impact on others future?
I still am in awe and wonder that such a pure and holy God would wish to come down to earth, and live as one of us. Certainly his name is great, and his reputation is beyond what anyone would understand.
At the end of this passage comes the theme of this post… God elevated him to the highest honor, giving Him the name that is above all names. It is not us that gave that distinction… it is God himself that chose that title.
“Name above all names, Mighty one, Merciful One, help us to remember you are above and beyond all we can understand. Your love and your act of coming to earth, laying aside your glory to live as a man, and your willingness to die a horrible death to pay for my sin is above all i can fully understand. Today i think you for your wonderful name, given by God himself. I thank you that you exceed all of the understanding of humanity. And yet you choose to love us and pursue us. Thank you. Amen”