A German word if ever there was one. Literally translated as “name cousin”. It’s interesting how other languages have one word for a concept that takes at least two in English. I’m sure it goes back and forth. Where English has other languages beat is in the synonym department. A dozen words with such subtle distinctions as to render the foreign language speaker lost in a sea of same differences. Language is a fascinating phenomenon. And when it says “name cousin”, it means a person or thing that shares the same name as someone, or something, else.
Even the word noun. That part of speech that’s used to describe a “person, place or thing” comes from the same word as “name”. “Name’s” “name cousin”.
So, my name’s Josh. Short for Joshua. Incidentally, Joshua is the Greek form of Yeshua, which as you may know, is Hebrew for Jesus. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “just joshing you”? The phrase originates from the late eighteen-hundreds where one Josh Tatum, a deaf/mute young man, got the bright idea to cover nickels in gold alloy and pass them off as five-dollar coins. He did quite well for himself until he was caught. And thus the phrase was born. I’m pretty sure that my namesake is deeper than that. Hopefully it has nothing to do with the phrase that essentially means to joke around and be generally inane. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be sarcastic and silly. But when it comes to choosing my appellation, that which is the overarching definition of who I am and what I represent by my given name, I’d like to identify myself with the original origin. Joshua means “God is salvation”. And boy, am I far from perfect (but that’s beside the point).
Whenever we call someone by their name, we are essentially repeating a word that contains the definition of its sound. What is your name? What does it mean? Is it positive? It should be. Have you ever thought about just what goes out into the ether whenever your name is spoken? We’d do well to strive to live up to what we have that defines who we are. What’s in a name? It’s more powerful than we know.
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” (Isaiah 43:1, emphasis mine) God is salvation. God is everything His name says He is. God is everything that Jesus showed Him to be. That’s why He has that name. Because God saves.
Names are funny. Sure you can study linguistics and etymology and discover the meanings and origins of the words we use. Cite the similarities from other languages and reverse engineer the language you speak all the way back to its Indo-European roots. And further. But names are a different story. The study of names however–the proper names of people, is called Anthroponomastics. Yay!
The second chapter of Song of Solomon, first verse, opens with “I am the rose of Sharon”. Jesus is that rose. His name is all that’s needed to bring all the power of Heaven to bear for your life. And this is why it’s important to know Jesus. Not just “Christ”. His name is Jesus, “Christ” simply means “King” in Greek. Of course, He’ll answer to both, but you’re on a first name basis now…
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Not with Jesus though: “for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)