The Name (by Kevin Witte)

Kevin Witte is a dear friend and colleague. He has been a blessing to me and many others with his wisdom, kindness, Christlike example, and in his willingness to go to VIPets to buy a Tarantula as a prank/gift for one of Holland Christian’s beloved student-teachers. But for real…he did that.


Dear Son,

It is a gift to be writing to you today.

I want you to know that there’s power in a name. You represent something big. That’s a name you can possess. If you are to follow the Dangerous One, let me tell you about the most powerful name there is.

There was once a young man who had gotten himself into some trouble. He was a remarkable young man. In fact, his name means “drawn out.” Without being drawn out, he would have died. The ruler over his people had decided to kill everyone who was like him, but this young man survived as a baby because he was drawn out of the water by the ruler’s daughter. The trouble came when he was older and saw one of the ruler’s men beating a member of his people. In frustration and anger and desperation, this young man attacked and killed the ruler’s man.

The young man fled to the desert to tend sheep and make a living for himself away from the palace life of his adopted family and the slave lives of his original family. But God had chosen him. And God would soon reveal Himself to the young man in a significant way.

As the young man walked one day, he noticed a bush that was on fire but not burning up. He walked toward the bush, and he heard his name, “Moses, Moses.” The bush knew his name! That should not happen. But in using his name, identity was being shared. Moses realized that God inhabited the bush. The ground was holy because God was there. No sandals. Hidden face. There was something different about this moment in time, something set apart.

God gave his plan for Moses in the next few moments of exchange. God’s vision was to save his people, and he was going to use Moses to do it. Moses asked a question that any one of us would have wonder: “Who am I that I should go?” But that’s the thing. Moses’s power and authority would not matter. God’s power and authority would.

And then the next obvious question: “When I go and do this, what shall I tell the people about who sent me?” And the bush said, “יהוה”

The name. The Name. Lots of people in the Bible had important names up to this point. Adam means ground or dust. Eve means living. Abraham means father of many. Israel means struggles with God. But we’ve never known God to have this Name until he reveals it to Moses through the bush. The name is Yahweh, I AM. I AM WHO I AM. I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE. It’s God’s Name that he revealed to Moses and he now reveals to us.

It seems ludicrous even now as I write to you. We know the NAME of the God of the universe. He cares enough about you and me to introduce himself to us, to let us know part of his identity. And there’s power in the Name. God has a Name, a Reputation, to uphold. He has a reputation of love, of power, of authority. He has integrity, because he always has and always will keep his promises.

When Jesus came to this world to be God in the flesh, God gave him a specific name. He called him יֵשׁוּעַ, Jesus. It means Yahweh saves. It is so true to his identity, so true to the actions that he took for Moses and has always taken for his people.

Living under that Name gives us the audacity to claim those promises and live in love. We follow Jesus because he is the Name in flesh-form. Everything that Jesus did makes personal for us the very identity of God. Jesus is God Himself.

Be assured, son, that this same God, Yahweh, calls to you to follow him. How will he reveal himself to you? How will he reveal himself to the world through you? What new name will he give you? Those who will follow this God understand that it is not always easy, but Yahweh is faithful. He is who he is, and he will be who he will be.

Take this gift of God. You know the name of the God of the Universe. Choose to live into the risks God gives you to take. Be dangerous for Jesus.

In the Name,

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