The Agora
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Name's sake, or "namesake"?

Gail wrote: "I have always understood God's namesake was Jesus."

To which Steven replied: "Yes, I suppose Jesus was God's namesake in that he was called 'Emmanuel' -- God with us. The very old phrase (it's a Hebraism) 'for his name's sake' just means, 'for God's honour', 'for God's glory'."


This is interesting, at least to me: until I read this exchange, I never really connected the ideas, but I think there is much more there than I, at least, ever thought about before...

If a man's name is passed along to a son, or grandson, or nephew, or even someone else unrelated by blood, then we speak of that person, the recipient of the name, as the "namesake". He now bears the name, first made known, by someone who went before, and somehow is expected -- this may be reinforced in subtle ways -- to "live up" to the name he has been given. "You were named after Grandfather Chester, who fought courageously at Gettysburg; don't ever forget that!" Or, "you were named after Great-grandmother Sally, who braved wild Indians and epidemics, and worked the land alongside her husband, and bore him twelve children; remember who you came from!"

Barbara says her parents always sent their children off to school, or work, or into life, with the reminder, "Remember who you are, and don't forget where you came from!" And, we might add, "whose name you carry!"

To say that Jesus (Yahshua: the salvation of Yahweh), or Immanuel (God, or EL, is with us) was the "namesake" of His Heavenly Father is to say a great deal. Yes, he was the bearer, among mankind, of the "glory" and "honor" of that unseen One. In him all the fullness of the Deity dwelt, and we beheld the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. "For My name's sake" became, in effect, "God's namesake"!

And what about us? When we believe, and are baptized, we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, which is -- ultimately -- the name of our Heavenly Father. We all bear the same family name, we are all "namesakes".

Surely we should always remember who we are, and where we came from, and whose name we bear!

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