Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | January 2, 2021

A Truly Holy Name Above All Names

Image of Jesus the Christ

Neither a Curse Word or a Cudgel

We’ve seen it in print/online or perhaps uttered it ourselves at some point -using Jesus’ name as though it were a curse word. Many of us have also heard warnings about “not taking God’s name in vain”. What does all of that mean, especially as many Christian communities celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name today?

What Does the Feast of the Holy Name Celebrate?

Jesus was born into the world as a Jew, and in accordance with Jewish custom, he was circumcised and given the name Jesus on the eighth day after birth. His name, given to his mother Mary by the angel Gabriel, comes from a Hebrew word that translates to “God is salvation“. Although commonly referred to as “Jesus Christ”, Christ isn’t a surname – it’s a title describing his role as Messiah/deliverer for Christians.

Jesus, during his earthly life, most likely would have been known as Jesus of Nazareth (or the Nazarene), or Jesus, son of Joseph. The English title given to Jesus is more of a descriptor of his role in Christian history. Jewish people of the first

Why Does Misuse of Jesus’ Name Anger or Offend People?

Most of us have encountered and possibly grown up hearing the name of God or the name of Jesus used as a sort of exclamation or curse when something goes wrong. The problem with this is that for most professing Christians, he is God come in human form. Even for those who believe in Jesus merely as a human teacher, flinging his name around in this way often shows poor or no respect for his teachings.

Here’s one way to think of it: how would you feel if someone used the name of someone you think highly of in such a way? Something to think about the next time you think maybe someone’s gotten too uptight…

Are There Other Ways That People “Misuse” the Name of Jesus?

Yes, there are, unfortunately many examples that take place daily, and not all of them involve “GD” or “JC”-bombs. People can misuse or take the names of God/Jesus in vain by their actions as well – every time people use their beliefs to malign, slander or harm others, they are doing just that.

When people professing Christianity engage in racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of prejudice, many could accurately say they are misusing the name of Jesus. A Savior who came into the world to redeem and restore through a life of love demands much better of us.

As we begin a new year with the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, may all who profess to follow Christ celebrate him by word and example at all times.


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