What’s in a name?

Daily Post: Fragrance


From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1600:


‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

One could argue, according to Juliet, that these beautiful roses I purchased last week would smell just as sweet if they were called Rosa delicti.  However, to use another worn out phrase, we should not be hasty here to judge a book by its cover.  You see, while these roses are beautiful in color, they have committed a heinous crime.  They have no smell at all.  They don’t smell like roses, or any other flower for that matter.  To my sensitive proboscis there is no fragrance, no odor, no nothing.  What a crime!  I remember well when roses smelled as sweet as the words Juliet used to describe them.

So wouldn’t it be more fitting to call these flowers “odorless rose”? But what’s in a name right?  Oh trust me, there is much in a name, and the power of names is nothing to sneeze at.  For example, if I suggest the name Adolph Hitler, what image comes to mind?  What world wide impact did the man have?  See, just the name Hitler weighs heavy with power unimaginable by most.

What if I suggest the name Winston Churchill? Passionate folks often quote Churchill in motivational speeches to convince people to become engaged in life.  Just a couple of examples:

“I would say to the House… ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat’… Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

“Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: ‘Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar.  As the will of God is in heaven, even so let it be.”

Reading these quotes you can almost smell the gritty fragrance of courage and conviction.  These were words which motivated men to engage for truth and justice once again.  So, what’s in a name?  Everything.  The name is the essence.

So, let’s talk about another name.  Folks react in a variety of ways when they hear this name.  Let me speak it now:  Jesus Christ the Lord.

To some the very sound of that name is a horrendous odor filling their nostrils with such fiercely pungent anger, that in their vain pride they shout this name in obscenity, cursing the heavens from whence He came.  To others the name is the consummate punchline, and laughing they equate the name with nothing more than popcorn eaten by thousands at entertainment venues around the globe, called churches.

But to us… to those reading these words who truly know Him, the name Jesus is sweeter than any other fragrance in the world.  One of the fragrances from my childhood that lingers even now, somewhere deep in my consciousness, is the smell of the little Baptist Church in Frankel City, Texas.  Located at the junction of Farm roads 181 and 1967, about 20 miles from Andrews, Texas.  What triggers this smell every time are the words to song written in the 1920’s, and sung often in this little church.

There have been names that I have loved to hear,
But never has there been a name so dear
To this heart of mine, as the name divine,
The precious, precious name of Jesus.

Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know.

There is no name in earth or Heav’n above,
That we should give such honor and such love
As the blessèd name, let us all acclaim,
That wondrous, glorious name of Jesus.

And some day I shall see Him face to face
To thank and praise Him for His wondrous grace,
Which He gave to me, when He made me free,
The blessèd Son of God called Jesus.

What’s in a name?  Let me share the truth with you now…

In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John stood before the Elders who had them arrested, and boldly and confidently spoke these words:

Acts 4:12
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Later Paul would write to the church in Philippi these words:

Philippians 2:8-11
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What’s in a name?  Everything having to do with the hope of mankind, that’s all.

Believe this truth.  Act on this truth.  Let God’s will in heaven be done this day right here on earth… in your life.

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