What's in a Name?

Sermon Audio

Sermon text: Isaiah 43:1-7 and Luke 3:21-22

Names, according to the Bible, have power. In Luke’s Gospel, the disciples come back from a mission trip and reported to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name.” (10:17). Frederich Buechner wrote, “My name is Buechner…If somebody mispronounces it in some foolish way, I have the feeling that what’s foolish is me. If somebody forgets it, I feel that it’s I who am forgotten…When I tell somebody my name, I have given him a hold over me that he didn’t have before.” Native Americans have objected to the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. The Florida State Seminoles have endured controversy over their name but enjoy the backing of the Seminole tribe council in their use of it. I was a second-string guard on my high school football team. In a game one Friday night the first-string guard was injured. I’d been warming the bench most of the season, and not paying much attention to the action on the field. “Borland!” shouted the head coach. I nearly jumped out of my skin. “Yes sir?” I said, as I grabbed my helmet and ran up to him. “Get in there!” he growled. So, I did. Just hearing my name called for the first time that season snapped me into action. In Johnny Cash’s song, “A Boy Named Sue,” a boy’s father names him Sue and then leaves home. Sue spent his whole life being mercilessly teased about his name and fighting his tormenters. Years later he finds his father, who explains why he named him Sue…See full sermon here