Monday, August 12, 2013

Would Jesus Have Allowed Parents To Name Their Child, Messiah?

 “Tennessee child support magistrate Lu Ann Ballew unilaterally decided to rename a seven-month-old boy “Martin” because she objected to the parents’ selection of “Messiah.” Her reasoning, she explained, was that, “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.” JoshIsrael. There is a serious constitutional issue here because it apparently violates the rights of the parents, or the mother to say the least. In America with racism shaping the society, your name also may reshape your opportunities as it is easier sometimes to know who is black and who is white from their names. That may limit your opportunities if those who have to extend the favor are racists. This lesson is important because names have come at times to be the direct replication of the people bearing them like Nabal whose name was “fool”. He was so foolish that he almost brought disaster on his own family. Notwithstanding, since it will be a difficult thing to ascertain the violation by law, we will answer this question by using the Bible as our background because it was the basis for the judge's worldview.
The statement by the judge is biblically incorrect. If we have a problem with the title messiah, what about king or lord? The word Messiah “mashiyachis a title which means anointed one and is used only twice in the Bible Daniel 9:25 and 26.  However, the word Messiah in Daniel has the same root word as the word anointed (mashiyach) in I Chronicles 16:22. The title is used on David (2 Chr 6:42) and 38 other times on others. That already indicates that the title messiah can be used on mere mortals. The priest was called “mashiyachanointed that means messiah (Lev 4:3, 5, 16). The kings were also called anointed- the same root word as messiah (1 Samuel 2:10). In I Sam 16:6, Samuel had thought that Eliab was anointed; thus, the Messiah to replace Saul. The title anointed was used on Saul with the same root word as in Messiah (I sam 24:10). Anbisha was asked to kill the man who confessed of killing Saul because Saul was the lord’s anointed-messiah (I sam 26:9). David was called anointed with the same root word as Messiah used on him 2 Sam 22:51. Prophets were called anointed with the same root word used as messiah (I Chr 16:22). By applying the title on prophets, kings, priests, and ordinary people, the Bible established clearly that the word messiah was a title rather than a name.
Notwithstanding, there was Jesus of Galilee called Christ, and there was another person bearing the name of Jesus –BarJesus ( Acts 13: 6). His name BarJesus was his Jewish name, but his Greek name was Elymas. His name Barjesus meant “son of Jesus”. It is probable that his father was name Jesus because the prefix “bar” in front of his name was the Aramaic form of “son of” as we see in BarJona which was Simon son of Jonah, Simon Peter’s surname. The same formula applies on Barnabas. Narbas meant “rest”, so his name meant "son of rest".  Consequently, we have established that the title-messiah and the name Jesus were borne by ordinary people too. It should be noted that the absence of surnames in the days of Jesus meant that people were identified either by place of origin: Jesus of Nazareth (Mk 1:24), Mary Magdalene (Mt 27:56; Mk 15:40; Lk 8:2), Judas Iscariot (Mk 10:4), or when others were grown up, they were identified by the name of their popular children: Mary the mother of Jesus (  Mt. 1:16; Mk. 6:3; Lk. 2:34  ), Mary the mother of James and Joses (Mt. 27:56; Mk. 15:40; Lk. 24:10), and Mary mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12). Women at times were identified by the name of their popular relative like Mary, wife of Cleopas or Mary, sister of Lazarus. If they had a major infirmity, they were identified by that infirmity like Blind Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46), Simon the Leper (Mt. 26:6). Others we identified by their political affiliations, or their occupations like Simon the Tanner (Acts 9:43).
Many cultures believe that names have a direct influence on the destiny of those bearing them. At times, it seems very true. Abednego means servant of Nebo (a Babylonian god of wisdom) in Akkadian and he was wise because of following God who gives wisdom. Abel means breath and like breath he quickly disappeared from the earth because his brother- Cain killed him out of jealousy.
Nonetheless, it does not mean that because an individual bears a religious name, he/she will end up being like the religious icon they want to emulate. It is important to note that our names influence the way people see us or at times how we behave.Looking at Barjesus and Jesus Christ will show you how although two people may bear the same name, one may be bad and the other may be good. 
Therefore, there should not be any fuss about naming your child Messiah. It is not a name reserved only for Jesus because even the name Jesus was not restricted only to Jesus the Son of God. Messiah is a title just like prince or saint, and anyone can decide to name himself/herself or their child with any title they want. According to their faith, it shall be granted them. If it is just a mere formality, the child may not even resemble their homonym. It explains why there are people name Jesus who have committed crimes like people who are named Lee or Martinez. In Latin America or areas where many people use the name Jesus, there are usually many criminals with the name Jesus which may appear as if anyone bearing the name Jesus ends up as a criminal. Not at all, it is simply that there are many people bearing the name. The more popular a name, the many will be offshoots bearing the name.
Until then, it is not immoral to name your child messiah or even Jesus!

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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