When we chose a name for our son, we looked through books full of names, like most modern American parents do. Those books list the meaning of the name - my name, Timothy, means "worshiper of God." But while we take note of the meaning, it's not the most important reason most parents choose a name.
We pick the name that rolls of the tongue best when combined with the last night.
We consider the nicknames the other kids in school will come up with.
We often choose a name because it's popular, perhaps because of a celebrity or a character in a TV show.
We chose Cody as our son's name because we liked western-sounding cowboy names. That was it. We noticed it's an Irish name, meaning "helpful," but that was irrelevant to us. We just liked the sound of Cody.
Our son has made the name Cody mean something, carry some weight, because of who he has become and the things he does in his name.
Simon was given his name by his parents, and he made that name become known as a fisherman. Jesus then renamed him Peter, meaning "the rock," because Peter's actions and his confession called for a new name to represent the rock solid identity he was assuming.
Of most importance in the Bible is the name of God, which Jesus brings to the forefront in His final conversations with the disciples on the last night. And He includes the importance of the name of God in His last prayer.
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. (John 17:11-12)Several years ago I did something really stupid at work, a poorly chosen moment of self-expression which didn't set well with the top administrators. I kept my job, but only because my boss spoke up for me and protected me. She had a clout of clout in the organization, so they kept me around as a favor to her.
She protected me by the power of her name.
The name of God has even more power.
When we pray in His name, we summon all of His power behind the request. When speak out in His name, our words carry His authority. When we pursue His mission in His name, His power goes before us to accomplish the tadk.
Whatever we do in His name, we don't do it alone.