That may be true if you were a flower. But if you are a person, names do make a difference, especially if you have gone through life with a name you didn't like. In fact, a psychologist did a study of the names of 15,000 juvenile delinquents and found that those with odd or embarrassing names were in trouble four times as much as the others. Names can make a difference.
In biblical times, names actually meant something. Often a child would be named in honor of an event that took place at the time of his or her birth, or for a unique physical characteristic. Adam's name meant "earth" because he was taken from the dust of the earth. Esau's name meant "hairy," as in a hairy person, because he was hairy. Esau's twin brother Jacob was born hanging onto his brother's heel. His family named him Jacob, which means "heel-catcher."
I bring this up because I want to talk about the name that is above all names, the name of Jesus. The prophet Isaiah tells us some important things, not only about the name of the Messiah that was to come, but also about His character:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace..." (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Each of these descriptions gives us a different aspect of the work that God wants to do in our lives.
His name is Wonderful. This word comes from the root word "wonder," which means "a sense of awe." Jesus wants to bring a sense of awe and wonder to our lives. No longer do we have to look to the cheap substitutes this world offers to bring fulfillment, because Jesus Christ makes life wonderful.
His name is Counselor. Did you know that God Almighty, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father wants to give you His personal counsel and direction? As Psalm 73:24 says, "You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me into glory." No longer do you have to be baffled by the problems you face, because with Christ as your Counselor, you can know that God will reveal His will to you.
His name is Mighty God. This means that Jesus has unlimited power for you as you encounter the demands of life. There are times when you probably have thought that it was very hard to live the Christian life. I have thought that as well. In fact, I think it is impossible to be a Christian apart from the help of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful that the Mighty God is there for me to give me the strength to do what He wants me to.
Next, He is called the Everlasting Father. Because Christ came to die on the cross and pay for your sins and rise again from the dead, you have an Everlasting Father, One who will be with you forever. He will never forget about you. He will always be there to guide and help you through life.
His name is the Prince of Peace. Certainly we live in frightening times. We look at our world and see so many things that have gone wrong. How we need peace in our lives. If you look at the wars and problems we face today, they are, for the most part, the result of people who are breaking God's commandments. But God will bring peace to the person who is well-pleasing to Him.
What's in a name? That all depends on whose name it is. Jesus Christ can be your Prince of Peace. He can be your Counselor. He can be your Mighty God. He can be your Everlasting Father. You can experience life to the fullest because His name is Wonderful. Medical science tries to add years to your life, but only Jesus Christ can add life to your years.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!