Luke 2:21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Whatís in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet [Romeo & Juliet 2,2,43] Whatís in a name? 2 things - a. meaning b. power.

Sometimes we think that names have no meaning, yet without seeing we know we know what a skunk is. And when we call a car a lemon, we know it is not a citrus fruit. Names have meaning. Even though a song once suggested that boys could be named Sue, we know thatís not a good idea. Sometimes we may not give them properly, and sometimes we may act in ignorance, but names still have meanings.

So if we were to speak of Jesus name, the first thing we might want to know is that does it mean? Jesus means God saves. Jesus was given his name on the 8th day, when every Jewish boy was given his name, and made a member of the covenant people. What is perhaps most important is that the name Jesus, was not a name that we gave to the babe born in a manger, it is not even the name that Mary and Joseph gave to the baby. Jesus is that name that God, through the angel gave to the baby, so that on hearing the name, everyone should know who He is, and what better name to give to the promised Messiah, than the simple truth, God saves.

What do we hear? 1. that we cannot save ourselves. and 2. that there is a way to find peace with God and to please him. God saves, tells us that we were created not to die, but to live. God saves - tells us that we are loved, loved enough that God would pay the price to set us free. So we also remember what it is that God saves us from - the power of sin, the power of death, and the power of the devil. To each we owed a debt, each held us chained as a slave, and God sent his Son to set us free, not with silver or gold but with his holy precious blood, and innocent suffering and death, that I may be his own, live under him in his kingdom and serve him in everlasting righteousness innocence and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns through all eternity, this is most certainly true.

Names have meaning. Names also have power. Names can accomplish things:

Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Names accomplish things - and it is no small thing to give hope to people -

Matthew 12:21 And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

Names accomplish things, in fact it is the reason why we regularly gather -

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

Names accomplish things, and so when we pray Jesus taught us to use His name -

John 16:23 if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

We could pray in many other names, but only Jesus name gives us the promise that not only will God hear our prayer, but that God will answer it also.

So these names of meaning and power, are not to be used in vain, or carelessly or thoughtlessly, and to use Godís name in this way is nothing less than blasphemy. God didnít give us his name, as indeed he does in Baptism, so that we could drag it in the mud. God didnít give us his name, so that when weíre hurt or angry, we can use it in the same manner as we would say ouch. God gave us his name, for hope, for our salvation, and to show us the power he has given us, for our salvation is not just the forgiveness of our sins, but a real victory over sin, over death, and over the power of the devil. All these things are ours in Jesus name. So the only question that remains is how do we properly use this name of meaning and power?

Philippians 2:9-10 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

The proper use is worship, adoration, praise and thanksgiving, for all that is ours, in Jesus name.

And what better way to begin a new year, than in Jesus name. May the salvation and power be with us always.