The Christ, messiah, of God

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

Many parents anguish over the names of their natal children, as they await their progenies entry into our world.

A quick survey of the internet will reveal thousands of names, some with actual definitions. The name Jonathan, for example, is related as describing, “a gift from God.” Well, so much for good intentions.

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Many experts will argue that a child’s name will have an impact on their future. Magnus, (a real name,) is certainly one the of those monikers relegated to the boy side, along with Manley, Rad, or Max. Few of the girls would find themselves so identified. For the girls, it would be a bit easier as Heather, Harmony, Felicity and Juliet readily come to mind.

Of course, there are those which like to confuse things. Some will name their children Beverly, Tracey, or Remy. Each gives a certain spin on the containers merits, and potential. Popular culture will often provide a nickname, for the name accursed, such as Bo, Bubba, or Stinky. The surnames are pretty much dictated by lineage.

In our familiarities, we frequently ascribe personalities with those we have met before. If we have had a difficult time with a certain “Bob,” then we may generalize anticipate having a difficult time with the next Bob we meet.

Conversely, if we have had a fine experience with “Liz,” we may, emotionally, anticipate similar experiences in life; until experience dictates otherwise.

So, what is really in a name? For most of us, it is what we are stuck with, or embrace.

Yes, the courts may be approached, but the original nameplate has only been replaced.

From the Bible, we know that Mary and Joseph did not have to wrestle with naming their child. They were told, by the angel Gabrielle, that his name was to be Jesus. Scholars relate the name “Jesus” was common for the time and the name was not exceptional. Yet, for our ears, the name is most exceptional.

When Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was, Saint Peter responded, “The Christ of God.” For Christians, it is most important we understand the significance of the response. Our modern world has made so many things artificially familiar and removed the majesty and mystery of Faith to sound bites.

The often-used name, both in prayer and exclamation, is “Jesus Christ,” to the point of no longer being sacred, but as meaningful as Bob Smith, or Jennifer Jehoshaphat. While each has some ability to conjure up a response, the lack of understanding may limit us in our spiritual growth.            

While not as familiar to the ear, the name Jesus the Christ is more apropos. For while his familiar name is Jesus, His purpose was to be The Christ. We remember the meaning of “Christ” is messiah, and this is a pivotal point in our beliefs. At the time of Jesus, there were many purported messiahs but, for Christians, there is only one true Messiah, the Son of God. 

It is easy to let the familiar, become the mundane. In our thoughts, words, prayers, and deeds, let us remember that our Lord is: Jesus, the Christ of God.