Jesus is More
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
When our youngest daughter was a precocious preschooler, she didn’t want to be limited to the name printed on her birth certificate. Though we’d named her Magdalene Hope (Maggie for short), she preferred to be known by many names.
When I tucked Maggie into bed each night, I had no idea who might wake beneath those soft covers in the morning.
Most days it was Emma Rose who skipped down the hallway at sunrise with Maggie’s familiar pink blankie in hand. Emma Rose looked like my last born complete with bedhead, and she fit seamlessly into our morning routine.
She entertained my school-agers with silly songs and kept diligent watch at the window for the big yellow bus that would chug up the hill and stop at the end of our driveway.
But when the bus disappeared, Emma Rose usually vanished, too. Soon, Annelise would arrive adorned in sparkling red slippers and a strand of poppy bead pearls. Annelise called me Darling instead of Mommy and invited me to join her for tea parties on the living room floor.
Rosie regularly dropped by for lunch. Dressed in a purple tutu and a shimmering smile, she loved to dance in the kitchen as I prepared our noontime meal.
Some afternoons, I was visited by Bluebell or Daffodil, Princess or Maryanne, but Maggie always showed up in time for bedtime stories and goodnight kisses.
On most days, I chose to embrace Maggie’s quirky theatrics and relish the way my little girl’s animated aliases gave me an endearing glimpse into her vibrant personality.
However, when Maggie began attending school for a few mornings a week, her vivacious spirit dissolved into a quiet gloom. Eventually, a simple declaration shed light on my preschooler’s frustration. “I hate my name tag,” Maggie announced with a churlish stomp.
“What’s wrong with your name tag?” I probed.
“It always says Maggie,” my daughter complained.
“Because that’s your name,” I replied with a giggle.
“I know, Mommy,” my daughter said. “But I wish my teacher knew all of my names.” She exhaled an exasperated sigh and murmured, “I’m more than just Maggie.”
Suddenly I understood my daughter’s quiet grievance.
Magdalene Hope may be bursting with hope like her given name suggests, but she’s also spunky like Emma Rose and kind like Annelise. She’s joyful like Rosie and bold like Bluebell. Maggie’s wish to be known by many names was an appeal to be fully known.
I often think of my preschooler when I read Jesus’ divine birth announcement in the book of Isaiah. The prophet’s familiar words read like a collection of curious name tags:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Our Savior’s many names aren’t an indicator He’s fickle and prone to change. They are a vivid reminder He is matchless and can’t be contained.
Just as my daughter’s aliases gave us a glimpse into her vivacious personality, so our Savior’s names provide a peephole into His unchanging character. Each name of Jesus reveals a feature of His divine disposition and an aspect of His limitless love. But best of all, each of Jesus’ names issues a personal invitation for us to know Him more intimately and trust Him more intentionally.
Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor, summons us to know Him as a compassionate advocate, while Jesus, our Mighty God, bids us to rest secure in His potent power and unparalleled authority.
Jesus, our Everlasting Father, reminds us we are His cherished children, while Jesus, our Prince of Peace, beckons us to rest in His presence.
So, let’s get to know our Savior by name this year, dear friends.
And as we do, let’s remember that no matter who we find Him to be, Jesus is always more.
Dear Jesus, thank You for inviting me to know You personally and powerfully. Help me to discover more of You this year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Philippians 2:9-10, “So God raised him to the highest place. God made his name greater than every other name so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus — everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.”
Read the Gospel of John over the next few weeks and keep a list of the names Jesus calls Himself.
Of the names of Jesus listed in today’s devotion, which means the most to you right now?