From Power in the Name of Jesus by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
When my first son was born, a thought occurred to me about the importance of a name. Brantley Quin Dean was going to call me by a name I had never been called before. No one called me Mommy. Not only did I have a new son, but I also had a new name. I had a name that only he would call me.
How would he learn that unique name that only named me when Brantley said it? If anyone other than Brantley were to call me Mommy, it wouldn’t be my name. Everyone else called me Jennifer, or some variation on that name. How would Brantley ever learn to call me Mommy? He wouldn’t hear it, so he wouldn’t pick it up from others.
I wanted to hear him say my new name. I was overjoyed to be Mommy to Brantley and looked forward to the day I heard it from my son’s lips. On that day, I would know that he recognized who I was to him. If I just wanted him to have something to call me, he could have called me what everyone else called me. But, there was one name that identified our bond and defined our relationship and spoke our connection. I wanted him to call me by that name.
For Brantley to learn that name that only my children could call me, I had to teach it to him. On purpose. Intentionally. I spoke my name to him, and wrapped it around the ways I interacted in his life. “Mommy loves you!” “Mommy will get that for you.” “Mommy’s here.” As I tried to teach him how precious he was to me, I tied what I did to who I was.
God wants us to know His name. Not just know how to pronounce it, or spell it. But to know what it means, how it defines who He is to us. When we use the phrase “the names of God,” it is something of a misnomer. God only has one name. It is a name too big for human lips to speak, so He teaches us variations on His name. And He has give us one name that sums up all the variations, gathers them into one sound. “He has given Him the name above all names.” Jesus. When we say the name of Jesus, we speak the one word that thrills heaven and demoralizes hell.
Jesus exchanged His kingly grandeur and donned mere clay—veiled His unapproachable glory in a robe of flesh—so that He could show us the Name. Not just tell, but show. He so wants to hear our lips speak His name that He was willing to live the name above all names is in a context that would teach us who He is by what He does.