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Pastor’s Viewpoint: 1-14-17

We drove to Auburn for a Whatley reunion and while we were meeting relatives we’d never met, Al and Jim came up to us with a large group of boys about their age. Charles “Al” introduced us to half of them named Charles and James “Jim” introduced us to the other half named James. Apparently those are common names in our family tree?
We knew a family named Warmwater who named their son Luke. Frank Zappa named his daughter Moon Unit and Beyoncé & Jay Z named their daughter Blue Ivy. Of course, names can be changed; would Marion Mitchell Morrison be as famous as John Wayne? Elton John started life as Reginald Kenneth Dwight and Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan. In the Bible, Simon became Peter, meaning the Rock… long before Dwayne Johnson became the Rock!
Matthew tells us how Jesus got his name, “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”” (Matthew 1:18-25)
Joseph comes from the Hebrew “Yosef,” meaning “God increases…” Mary comes from the Egyptian, meaning “beloved” and from the Hebrew, meaning “rebellion.” She would need that “rebellious spirit” to bear a child out of wedlock in a culture that might stone her to death for doing it. And then they had a son, rather Mary had a son, and they raised him together. They enjoyed all the experiences of raising a son, all except one; they didn’t name him, God named him… Jesus.
One of my favorite songs was written by Bill & Gloria Gaither; “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! There’s just something about that name.” Jesus comes from the Hebrew Yeshua or Joshua, meaning “to save.” Sometimes parents in first century Palestine named their children Jesus or Joshua as a prayer, asking God to come and save them. This Jesus, born to Mary and Joseph, was the answer to that prayer!

Pastor’s viewpoint is written by Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley, a retired United Methodist pastor serving the Woodland – Bold Springs UMC and with Mary Ella, a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.