What's In A Name?


“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

“And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.”  1 John 2:28-29


What’s in a name? We have heard this echoed throughout time and it is interesting to think about it. I sort of had a name dilemma growing up. My legal name is David Fredrick Nance, and I am “technically” a junior to my dad. My mom did not want me to get stuck with people calling me “junior” or “DJ” so she legally made me a “II” (second). But if you know me I am known as Davy. It can be a lot to handle. 

I love my name though. I mean David means beloved in Hebrew. I believe it says something about being handsome, great at basketball and the most awesome guy in the room! Even if it does not already, I will try to make it stick.

I digress. I bring up the meaning of my name because it is what people call me, and therefore it has a lot to say about who I am. I remember sitting around one day and taking inventory of what people called me. Whether it was in a serious moment, or even as a joke, it is always “fun” to listen to what people call you. Just like the name we are given, what people call us can begin to shape us.

I bring all this up because Jesus has a few different names. If you were to scan through the pages of the Bible you would see Him being called different names. The sum of all these names could be said with Him being our, “... I am” (John 8:58). Literally meaning Jesus is who we always need. We always need Him to be Jesus, and even the name Jesus reminds us He is our Emmanuel. Emmanuel means God with us, or the way I look at it, God is present with me/us.

In our verses today we have two other attributes which can be viewed as names for Jesus. Those two are He Advocate and Propitiation. Both of these are incredible to keep in your mind because they certainly speak into our identity as those who follow Jesus.

Jesus being our advocate means He is a champion for us. We often declare in praise how Jesus is the champion over death, sin and the grave. Those are absolute truths. In this context it is the reality where Jesus champions for us to His Father. When Jesus died with our sins and came back to life, He became a champion for us to His Father. He made it possible to be able to present us to God free of our blame.

Jesus being our propitiation simply means He is our atonement. What Jesus did fully satisfied the sacrificial system and allowed us to be brought back into relationship with God. The sin which once divided us from God has been removed and we are able to be His children. 

A reason why knowing these two names of Jesus is important is because the latter verses we are looking at today do not work unless we believe Jesus to be our Advocate and our Propitiation. Without having Jesus as our Advocate and our Propitiation we would most certainly shrink from shame when we see Him. We would not be able to even face God if we still carried the weight of our sin and struggles. 

But all praise to Jesus we get to live in the reality of being His children who abide in Him. The world and the enemy are trying their hardest to get us to lack confidence in who we are in Jesus; they want us to shrink away from Him.

The good news is they can try their hardest but we are already named. In our adoption we have been named, identified and secured as a child of God. Sometimes the only way to be reminded of our name is to recall the name(s) of Jesus. We can find security in whichever name we call out, or sometimes cry out, knowing He will answer us. 


  • Take some time to think about the names or attribute of Jesus. Consider making a list of them and what they mean.

  • Which ones do you need in this season? Which ones do you feel as though you always need?

  • Make it a habit to remember these names. There is always such power and authority in Jesus’ name, and when you can’t think of which one you need, just remember “I am.”


Father, I am so grateful for who You are. I am thankful I have an Advocate and Proprietor in You. Thank you for Your atonement from my sins, and for championing me to Your Father. May I always be ready to call Your name and declare who You are into my life. I am Yours and You are mine. I pray all of this in Your holy name, Amen. 

PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.

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