The power of a name

It’s just two words, but the mention of them can cause a variety of reactions: Jesus Christ. To some, it’s the name above all other names, holy and sacred. To others, it’s the name of a fairy tale. And for more than just a few, it’s profanity.

The name Jesus is from the Greek form of Emmanuel, the Hebrew for “God is with us.” To all Christians, it is the name of the second person of the Trinity. It is so powerful, that Peter uses it to cure a man (Acts 3:6). Christ is also from the Greek and means “the anointed.”  In ancient times, priests, prophets and kings were anointed as a symbol of their office. Jesus is the anointed since he is all three (priest/prophet/king) in one. Christ is not so much a last name as a title given to Him as His occupation being a priest, prophet and king. However, it is part of the name identity by which He is known.

Jesus is hard to ignore. Evidence of his life and teaching is everywhere.  For example, He is the basis for holidays like Christmas and Easter. Whenever you see a church, a priest or a cross, there is an understanding of a religious affiliation with Christianity.

For those who don’t believe, or who don’t know the details, Jesus is a story. Written down thousands of years ago just like Hercules or Odysseus, His name is no more than a myth or legend.

In today’s culture, the name of Jesus Christ  is  used all too often as profanity, particularly on TV where other words would get bleeped out. It has spilled from those boxes into our homes, our workplaces, our society and our culture. And no one seems to mind. No one except other faith-filled people like me.

For me, Jesus Christ is a name that is sacred not just because He is divine, but because He is my friend. I view faith as having a personal relationship with God; my religion — in this case Catholicism — is the practice of that relationship. I wouldn’t want the name of a person that I care about used profanely  and am horrified that so many Christians not only appear to find it acceptable, but are often the ones using it that way! I doubt than any Muslim would use Allah in that type of context.  Would you allow another to take either your name, your parent’s name, your spouse’s name or your child’s name and use it in that manner? Perhaps the next time you are about to use Jesus’ name as profanity, try substituting it for a name of someone you really love and care about. Even if you don’t believe, there are many out there that do believe Jesus Christ is more than just a name; He’s someone we love and care about.

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