Throughout the Bible we see that names, and the meaning of names, matter. God changes people’s names as a part of establishing their new identity in and with God. Hagar, Leah, and Rachel give their children and the children their servants birthed names that reflect what God has done for them. The Bible is a story where one’s identity and purpose are closely tied with what name they are called by. Imagine with me, what then is the identity and purpose of the child who is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace?

These names weren’t listed off by accident. They are the names that were pronounced over kings at their coronations, and now God’s prophet Isaiah is pronouncing them over a forthcoming child. This child will not only be a king at his birth, but be a king whose authority and power comes from God in a way that has never been seen before.

We who call ourselves Christians know this child by the name of ‘Jesus.’ We know that through the name of Jesus, God names and claims each and every person and all of the cosmos as Beloved, and that there is nothing that can take away this identity we share.

Holy and Gracious God, what we are called matters to you and you show us this by changing and bestowing names upon your people. We thank you for the gift of Jesus and all of Jesus’ names, knowing that through Christ we claim the name ‘Beloved.’ Amen. 

Leah Holloway-Nilsen, LCM Alumni ’18, Pastoral Intern at St. John’s Lutheran Sauk Prairie

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6